Most of us think that surfing the web is an extremely private affair and nothing or no one seems to be monitoring our online activities. That’s where we make the basic mistake. Big Brother’s constantly watching us and browsing the Internet just isn’t the private affair we think it is.
What is VPN?
VPN was developed originally to allow workers in remote places to connect securely to their corporate networks. This allowed them to access corporate information and resources when at a distance from their respective offices. The system very much continues to exist, although the term usually now refers to VPN services of the commercial type that allow users to access the Web through their own servers privately.
VPN for Private Internet Browsing
This is where a VPN or Virtual Private Network makes a huge difference. It allows the user to access the Internet through a server that is operated by a specialized VPN provider. Any data that travels between the computer, tablet or phone and the VPN server is encrypted securely. It’s due to this setup that VPNs guarantee your privacy by effectively concealing all your internet activities from your Internet Service Provider and, more importantly, the government.
You can safely evade censorship by your school, office, ISP and government while also “geo-spoofing” your location to access services denied unfairly to you on your personal geographical location or while on vacation in a foreign country. The additional advantage of a VPN is that it guarantees protection against hackers when you use a public WiFi spot with safe P2P downloads as well.
Getting a VPN Service
To use a VPN, you first need to sign up with a VPN service. This would cost you anything between $5 and $10 on a monthly basis. You also get substantial discounts when you subscribe for 6 months or maybe even a year. A contract, however, would be required for using a VPN service. However, it needs to be borne in mind also that a VPN cannot replace an ISP because the ISP provides the Internet connection. You can find a list of best VPN service providers you can turn to for secure Internet browsing in this top VPN review.
How Does VPN Work?
Normally, when one connects with the Internet, it’s the ISP that subsequently connects him to any desired websites. At the same time, all the internet traffic is passing through the ISP’s servers, and is viewable by the ISP.
As you use a VPN, you get connected to the server that is operated by your VPN provider through an encrypted connection. This is also called the VPN tunnel. This implies that all the encrypted data can only be seen by you and the VPN’s server.
This guarantees that your ISP does not get to know what you’re viewing on the Net; your data remains unseen as it’s encrypted; the ISP doesn’t get to know which websites you visited because all activity gets routed via the VPN’s server. All that the ISP gets to see is your connection with the VPN’s server.
Moreover, should the VPN server be located in a different country, any website you visit thinks that you are accessing it from that particular country only. Anyone trying to monitor your Internet activities will be able to trace it back to the VPN server only. Therefore, unless your VPN’s service provider spills out your details, your actual IP address remains hidden.
Additionally, the Internet connection between the VPN server and your device is encrypted. Thus, even if a hacker manages somehow to access your confidential data by tricking you into making a connection with a hotspot’s that an “evil twin” or packet-sniffs your WiFi data, your data remains safe due to solid and foolproof encryption.
VPN and Privacy
Your privacy is also of importance to your VPN provider, which is not the same in the case of your ISP. Usually, VPN services that are privacy-minded, employ numerous technical measures to be as less aware about your activities. In other words, they are never unduly inquisitive or curious about what you do on the Internet.
However, using a VPN slows down the access speed because the data travels an extra distance. For instance, when connecting to a VPN server that is geographically located nearby to access any website which is also located nearby, a 10% hit may be expected. This again may be improved depending on the processing power of the server, bandwidth available as also the current load – the number of people using the same server simultaneously.
All other factors remaining equal, to get the best performance while using a VPN, one needs to connect to the VPN server that is closest to the service or website he wishes to use as also the maximum closeness possible to his own location.
How VPN Is Changing the Way We Use the Internet
In sum, VPN has somewhat revolutionized Internet usage the world over, particularly in countries that have banned certain sites or have forcibly prevented their citizens from making good use of the Web.