What is VPN? Virtual Private Network Explained
Depending on the kind of work carried out by a particular organization, it might be necessary for them to hide their online activities. To address such a need, a Virtual Private Network might come in handy. But what is VPN? How does a VPN work and do you really need a virtual private network?
What is VPN? A Virtual Private Network
As the name suggests, this is a network system that ensures any online work carried out by a group of users remains confidential and inaccessible by the general public. It ensures privacy and puts in place protection over any form of highly regarded data thus preventing unrestricted access. Such protection has, over the years, become appealing to home based internet users. As an added plus, home users are able to bypass any preventive measures that might be set up to region specific websites.
How Does VPN Work?
The initial step is to connect to a VPN server; after which, a user’s IP address is then masked through encryption. This guarantees protection from any groups that might have an interest in tracking your online activity (government agencies, hackers)
The Various VPN Protocols
Encryption involves the application of various security levels that are distinguishable based on their intensity. They are:
- IPsec (Internet Protocol Security)
- LT2P (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
- PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
Access Regionally Blocked Content
As earlier mentioned, various content providing sites care a great deal about who gets to access their content. This is mainly because they wouldn’t want their site to be overburdened by visitors who won’t really find their content appealing, as the content is produced with a specific region in mind. Channels that offer streaming services such as Hulu, HBO GO, Netflix, iPlayer or Showtime would require regular users who have shifted locations to use VPN to access them.
This also rings true for users who would wish to download from torrent sites such as KickAssTorrent and The Pirate Bay. The same applies for social media users who happen to be accessing sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram from institutions like schools or colleges that have them regularly blocked.
How to Pick the Right VPN Provider
It’s very easy to get reeled in by the sales copy offered by many of the VPN providers out there. This makes it important to be on the lookout for certain qualities offered by the best providers.
- Verify that your VPN service provider does not keep a log of your online activities.
- Ensure your VPN provider operates at a good speed. You don’t want to be waiting too long when buffering videos or downloading large folders.
- Make sure your VPN provider has your country listed on its availability index.
- Highly-ranked VPN services offer their users VPN apps on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
- Ensure your VPN has above par customer service ratings alongside a 24/7 toll free number that you can dial in case of any difficulties.
Based on my analysis, I’d recommend ExpressVPN as the best provider in terms of quality of service. For ease of comparison, I made a point of including more top VPN providers in my list.
What is VPN? Final Thoughts
A highly ranked provider like ExpressVPN is well worth the cost of its subscription. VPN server speeds and numbers, excellent client support, and most importantly, top level data encryption all mean you are getting your money’s worth.