In this virtual world, everybody wants to become anonymous and here the concept of VPN came into action. Nowadays, we hear about VPNs virtually everywhere and chances are you have used a VPN at least once. But have you ever wondered how it works and protects your privacy? In this article, we are going to see how VPN works and what are the advantages of using one.
Along with discussing Virtual Private Networks, we are also going to see some good VPNs which you can use. How you can use it to protect your online privacy? See the different benefits provided by VPNs that will help you out. We will also see the difference between a good and a bad VPN service. Why you should not use or the risks related to using this one. If you want to take a short way then check out the video on our YouTube channel.
Table of Content
- 1 What is a VPN?
- 2 How Does a VPN Work?
- 3 Is a VPN Safe?
- 4 Does a VPN Slow Down Your Internet Connection?
- 5 Is Using a VPN Legal?
- 6 Benefits and advantages of using a VPN
- 7 Summary
What is a VPN?
Before we can start with the working of VPNs, we are going to see what a VPN is first. But if you already know about VPNs then you skip this section.
VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” and it is an easy way to mask your IP address by using proxy servers. This increases online privacy and provides users with more freedom to explore the internet.
Whenever we are online, the server and your device constantly exchange information. This information includes your IP address. It is used to identify your computer. And if you use an unsecured website without a VPN then your IP address can reveal your location. VPNs are used to mask your IP address with the IP address of the VPN server. So even if we are using an unsafe website, our IP address and other information will not be revealed.
We can also understand it as a VPN creating a secure tunnel through which we can safely browse online. The data which we are sending and receiving will be encrypted and secured. This is also known as re-routing our internet traffic through a VPN. Following are the advantages of using VPN:
- Protect our identity online
- We can browse the internet more freely
- It secures our data online
- Avoid censorship
- Prevents IPS tracking
- Helps us stay truly anonymous
- Stream regionally blocked content
These are some of the features which the VPN provides, you can read about more features on any VPN website.
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How Does a VPN Work?
If you have used VPN before then you must know that using VPN is simple. You just need to get a VPN software and start the connection, the software handles the rest. Now we are going to see what will happen after the connection is established:
- After the connection has been established with the VPN server, your data gets encrypted and goes to the server. The encryption makes the data safe even though it goes through your IPS (Internet service provider). This does not allow your IPS to snoop on your data and knows what you are looking for online.
- Once the encrypted data reaches the VPN server, it is decrypted.
- The VPN server then sends the data to the internet and waits for the results, this is the same steps as if you were not using any VPN. The VPN server browses online on your behalf.
- Now the VPN server encrypts the reply it got from the internet and sends it to you.
- Once the data(response) reaches you, it gets decrypted and you see the results on your browser.
- This repeats for all the things you do online after turning on the VPN service.
You don’t notice the VPN working in the background since you can close the app and the service will continue in the background. And due to the fast performance of VPNs, you can use the internet like you normally do.
Is a VPN Safe?
The short answer is YES, it is completely safe to use VPN. VPN helps us stay safe online and avoid us getting tracked.
As we have seen earlier, it is really important to protect our data from our IPS. Since IPS can see what we are browsing online without our permission.
The VPN redirects our data through their servers and makes it perfectly safe to browse. Most of the VPN server does not log our online activity, which means we can do anything online without being tracked. If you want to know how VPN works then check the previous section.
Does a VPN Slow Down Your Internet Connection?
This is a really common question and many people don’t use VPN because of it. But you should relax since VPNs have very high performance and you will not even notice that you are using a VPN.
However, the performance will vary from service to service. Just like any software, good software will perform better than other software. If the VPN service has more servers and the servers are near your location then the performance will be much higher.
The best way to test the speed of VPNs is by using any free or demo version. Many VPNs provide free trials so you can try it for yourself. But aside from the VPN service, your internet speed also affects the results you will get. Check the website of the VPN provider to see if you meet the requirement to use VPN effectively.
In general, the speeds are high enough to stream any content in high quality and play online games without much delay. On the positive side, if your internet speed is limited by your ISP. Then VPN can increase your internet speed. This is another advantage of using a VPN, but it is not a guarantee. Since your internet speed depends on several different factors.
Is Using a VPN Legal?
This is yet another question that people have since VPN makes you virtually invisible online. And being anonymous online is not allowed in some countries for security reasons. The reason can vary from not being able to track people with malicious intent to lack of internet freedoms.
In most countries, VPN is not illegal or prohibited since many organizations use them for their business needs. You have to check if your country has any restrictions for using a VPN. But chances are that there will be no type of restriction for using VPNs.
However, you can not do anything illegal online with a VPN since it comes under cyber laws. But using a VPN to stream content from other countries via Netflix, Amazon, etc is not illegal. Using VPN in most western countries is allowed but you should still check your local laws.
Benefits and advantages of using a VPN
We have already discussed some of the benefits which come with a VPN. Here we are going to discuss the benefits of the VPN in depth. We would like to say that since VPN protects our privacy online. It is better to have one than to stay unprotected online. Below are the advantages of using a VPN
But if you already know about the different benefits then you can skip this section.
Secure public WiFi connections
This is perhaps one of the most important things since we sometimes need to use public WiFi. This public WiFi is unsecured. A hacker can easily see the data going through the WiFi. This is why it is important to use public WiFi with a VPN or not use it at all.
Sometimes hackers create public WiFi such as in a cafe or library and wait for people to transfer sensitive information.
Streaming regionally blocked content and website
This is a really widespread problem and people who travel a lot will understand. Some websites are blocked in a certain region. Streaming platforms like Amazon have a movie but only for the US. In such cases, you can easily stream the content or open the website with the help of a VPN. There are other ways also to access the blocked website and content but VPN is the most convenient way.
NOTE: Some streaming platforms like Netflix do not allow you to use VPN on their platform.
We have already discussed these advantages but we are going to discuss them in-depth here. If you are in a region where websites like Facebook are blocked, then you need a VPN to use it. Censorship can be at a national level or regional level, for both you need to use a VPN.
Prevent ISP tracking
As we have already seen, the ISP (Internet Service Provider) can track you online and see your online activities. Many ISPs do keep a log of the websites you visit but some do which invade your privacy. After your ISP collects your private data, they sell it to advertisers for profit. This is another reason to use a VPN in your daily life.
Prevent price discrimination
You must have experienced it before, many websites track your activity and change the prices based on it. This is called targeted pricing. It can rip you off over time.
You can avoid this by using a VPN, the prices will be the same every time you visit the website. VPN hides your real IP from the website so you do not get the targeted prices.
Smart home protection
Nowadays, our homes are filled with IoT devices that can be access points for hackers. This puts our privacy at risk and we should not take chances. A VPN is the best way to prevent hackers from using our IoT to spy on us. You can read more about how VPN works on the website of the VPN service.
In the article, we saw how VPN works and how we can use it in our daily life to protect our online privacy. We saw the different advantages of using the VPN.
If you are not sure about any of the topics then feel free to drop your query in the comment section. We are more than happy to help out our readers.