The Beginner’s Guide to VPNs

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an popular tool used to create highly secure, encrypted pathways on the internet. VPNs give you access to IP addresses in different locations and help keep your browsing history secret from the government, hackers and even your internet service provider (ISP). With internet security hacks and data leaks occurring at increasingly alarming rates, wouldn’t it be great to be able to better protect your web traffic and usage? That’s what a Virtual Private Network is for!

How Does a VPN Work?

A Virtual Private Network works like an online firewall. It allows users to make a secure, private network within a public one to better protect their data and any sensitive information that’s been shared online. VPNs are used by both businesses and individuals that would like to improve their web security; accessing websites through a VPN keeps your online connection practically invisible. If ever any information was hacked when using this service, encryption would keep your data protected and your location virtually untraceable.
While this high-level of data protection might sound like an expensive, inaccessible service, the opposite is true. Better internet security is available within minutes through several reputable service providers who offer a range of subscription plans, security levels, and extra features.

What Are the Benefits of Using a VPN?

Whether looking into getting a VPN as an individual, a multi-user household, a small business or a large corporation, there is a wide range of benefits for each user type:

  • Flexible IP address. This allows you to access websites in different countries by “tricking” them into thinking you are a local web surfer. Popular with TV buffs who want to gain access to top shows on Netflix or Hulu that are only available in other countries.
  • Affordable prices. VPNs often come with the options to buy monthly, quarterly or even yearly subscriptions that help keep an already low cost even lower.
  • Increased security. These enhanced networks keep data secure and encrypted at multiple levels so there’s no need to worry about hackers.
  • Accessible files. With a Virtual Private Network, you can share and access data in secure groups and from remote locations, helping businesses stay productive from anywhere.
  • Complete anonymity. Aside from the ability to choose your IP address from several locations, you’ll gain better access to blocked sites while remaining completely anonymous.
  • Boosted bandwidth. The right VPN will allow for increased bandwidth, which means more web traffic without the, well… traffic.
  • Total portability. The best part about VPNs is that they travel with your devices. Whether you’re working from home, the office, an airport lobby or a coffee shop, you can turn on your private network and access all these benefits in one swift click.


How Do VPN Services Differ?

While the overall intentions and purposes behind different service providers may be similar, there are variations in the service provided. Some will offer IPSec – IP security – that offers higher protection for internet communication by completely encrypting incoming and outgoing data, known as tunneling. Others will provide L2TP – Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol – combined with IPSec, which helps increase encryption and assesses data for threats as it is transferred. There are even more levels and combinations of protection that you can find, depending on your security needs.
Aside from that, most VPNs are available for both iOS and PC systems and will offer an app for mobile devices, but Android and iOS compatibility may vary. It’s also important to note that VPNs work over the internet, so will not protect your normal cell phone data. Regardless of your internet provider, level of security concerns or number of users in your network, in today’s internet-based world, a Virtual Private Network is a must-have in order to keep your data private, protected and secure.