There are countless acronyms thrown out there in the tech world and trying to keep up with all of them can be a difficult, if not impossible task.
So you might be rolling your eyes when you realize that you have to learn yet another acronym but believe us, this is one of the more important ones out there.
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a must for any person who is constantly using their computer to access the internet. In this article, we’ll explore what a VPN is, why you should be using it and what its benefits are.
What is a VPN?
As stated above, a VPN is a virtual private network and in the easiest terms, it does just that: establish your own virtual private network.
It allows you to establish your own network to a separate server, making your own internet Speed connection while also providing you with a different geographical location (if that’s what you’re after).
VPN services are purchased via various companies and all provide the same thing. Most charge a monthly fee while others will charge you annually. All services, at least the reputable ones, offer you a free trial so you’ll be able to give it a try before deciding if you want to buy it or not.
They are all quite easy to use, with installation being quite painless and the controls usually being a giant on/off button. Even your grandparents may be able to figure it out!
Why do you Need One?
First and foremost, a VPN offers an extra layer of security for anyone trying to spy on your network or personal computer. Since your connection is being routed through a secure server, it makes it much harder for someone to spy on your activity.
A quick note, the security it provides does not protect you from viruses, malware or trojans that could affect your computer. You still need to exercise regular caution when downloading attachments or going to a streaming website. It does not make you invulnerable.
VPNs are also great if you’re connecting to public WIFI spots, like in airports or cafes. Public WIFI spots can already be risky so it’s wise to take the extra steps in order to protect yourself.
They can be added to any technological device you have: a laptop, cell phone, tablet or PC. Depending on your internet connection, you might see a loss of speed while you’re browsing but that is not a blanket rule or happening.
What is it Good For?
So, we’ve already gone over the security benefits you receive while using a VPN. You may not be invincible from hackers but you’re going to be much harder to spy on or take any information from.
While the security benefits are great and all, most people use them primarily for one thing: changing their geographical location.
Why would you want to change your geographical location? Well, there are plenty of websites out there that have geographical limitations or settings. Say you’re living overseas and are tired of constantly seeing your Google pop-up in the foreign language. One way to get around that is to change your location to your home country and voila!
You can also access your bank account easier, credit cards or email by changing around your location. It’s quite painless and usually takes just a few seconds to change your location from the United States to Australia.
While all of those things and nice and quite useful, most people are using VPNs to access streaming content.
Take Netflix for example. The streaming giant has made leaps and bounds with its content and reaches over the past decade, but what might be on Netflix in one country may not be on Netflix in a different country. Using a VPN allows you to switch back and forth, accessing whatever content there is from just about anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely foolproof as some services like Netflix continue to update their security settings to detect various VPNs, blocking you from viewing any content. Usually, you can move around to find a connection that works, but it might take a few minutes to find the sweet spot.