Most of us are familiar with the abbreviation VPN (Virtual Private Network), but why is it used, how does it work and why is it important for the internet safety of users? Simply saying, a virtual private network creates a secure data tunnel between your device and a VPN server. Initially developed for corporate employees to access their internal business network safely and remotely from their branch offices, nowadays it is used for various other purposes. 

VPN is a good way to increase privacy and achieve better data security.

Some web users would like to surf the Internet anonymously in order to protect their personal identity and location. With the help of a VPN, it is easy to do and your online activity is hidden from your ISP, your data is encrypted and your internet safety is increased. This is especially important when using a public Wi-Fi connection since it is usually an attack target of malicious parties and is much more likely to lead to data leak than your ISP. It is also vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attack and you risk your passwords or credit cards being stolen. Another good advantage of using VPN is that when surfing the web, your actual IP address will be hidden because the server IP address is used for the internet activity. Of course, nothing will ever guarantee complete anonymity, but it will definitely be more difficult for third parties to collect information about your activity on the Internet.

Another popular usage is to circumvent specific location-based restrictions. By using a VPN server in another country, a user would be able to access various websites or services that are otherwise censored or blocked in one’s country by the government. Or for example to use services that are not available in the country (e.g. Netflix or sports betting). This is an easy and cheap solution (it usually costs a few USD per month).

Now let us elaborate on a few things that you should have in mind before choosing a provider. Check out their privacy policy. If the service is completely free, that could mean only one thing - they will probably sell your activity data to advertisers. While your privacy might be protected for the internet, actually the provider can track what you’re doing similar to your ISP. And they will probably share this information to get their profits. Does it mean that a paid VPN won’t keep any logs? Not necessarily. In a recent data leak case, all the logs and customer data stored of more than 20 million users of 7 “no-log VPN” providers had been leaked. Yes, you read that right - they stated clearly that they do not keep logs, yet they did. It is hard to tell which provider is telling the truth until the moment everything goes wrong so do your research and make sure the provider is reputable and trustworthy. Also, free services are of lower quality and often this means slow network speed or unreliable connection. The good thing is that you can try how it works before jumping on a paid VPN.

Also, keep in mind the following:

  • We recommend you to choose a provider that would not mind trying their product for free or have a good money-back policy. This way you can also try the connection speed, which is very important if it is good so that your video streams don’t interrupt all the time or keep buffering.

  • Make sure it is safe and reliable. Read the reviews, search for bad news or ask your friends and colleagues, do your research.

  • The more servers and locations the provider offers, the better. Having more servers would allow you to use a different one each time, which will increase privacy and anonymity.

  • Having great customer care is essential. Check it out and see whether the support is quick and helpful.

 

If you would like to go further you can also install a VPN server on your VPS, instead of using a VPN provider. Check out our tutorial for SoftEther VPN server installation and configuration.

 

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