What is a VPN and Why Do I Need One?



I would like to thank Dragonblogger.com for allowing this guest post. Their website an authority on all things new when it comes to gaming and technology. In particular, I enjoyed this article about the exciting news from Microsoft at E3 this year.

In our ever-growing technological landscape, there always new threats and ways that internet service providers or governments try to infringe on your open internet usage. Luckily, there are tools to fight back against these problems and one of the best tools is a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

Originally designed (and still used) as a way for employees to safely access work data or files while working from home or travelling, a VPN is a service now accessible to the average consumer that allows your device to connect to a secure offsite server that will act as the middleman between your browser and the internet, and send you any data you request over an encrypted connection.

Therefore, this service will keep your identity safe by masking your IP address from any onlookers. All they will be able to see over the encrypted connection is that you accessed a VPN, nothing more.

Here are the main reasons why you should absolutely invest in a VPN:

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Public Networks and Security

Public networks are just that, public, and no computer should connect to one unprotected. Many of them have no encryption at all, and on an open network, a hacker could intercept all of the data you’re sending and receiving in the span of a lunch break at your favorite café. This hacker can then interpret the data, figure out a username and password for a website that they’ve determined you frequent, and then get into those accounts. This can be done quickly, this can be done easily, and this can be done inexpensively.

However, if you have a VPN, its encrypted connection enables your data to remain safe even when accessing the internet over a public network. This type of safety is vital if you want to send any sensitive information or conduct any financial transactions from your computer, tablet, or even smartphone. You’ll be able to take advantage of any online opportunity that comes your way without having to worry about who is watching.

Travelling

In addition to probably using many public networks while you travel, a VPN is an essential travel service if you are visiting any countries with geo-restrictions.

Subscription services such as Netflix track your location, and if you are not in an “authorized” streaming area, you will be blocked from viewing the content you paid for. For example, if you live in or are visiting America, you will not have access to programs on the BBC iplayer, which is only available for viewers in the UK. Since a VPN accesses the host server, which then accesses your content, your VPN’s IP address appears as if it’s in the “proper” country, and you will be able to access these previously restricted sites.

Government censorship is similar, and some countries try to restrict access to websites within their borders. However, with a VPN, your VPN’s IP address appears to be outside of their borders, and within that secure connection, the VPN accesses the restricted website (for example, Google) and then sends you all of the data. This is a common method that reporters and activists use to work around oppressive regimes all around the world, and something that you can inexpensively use as well to make sure you aren’t blocked from anything.

Torrenting

Torrenting is another reason you might want to block your IP address from the government and other organizations. When you torrent without a VPN, you leave a trail of information that is traceable and can be monitored by outside users and organizations. You don’t likely want this information leading back to you, but you still want to access the files available with torrenting websites or software. This is where a VPN again comes into play.

Most tracking is done by finding the IP address and connecting it to an individual. This means that someone monitoring copyrighted content could identify who is downloading and uploading it by tracking the IP addresses. With the protection of a VPN, those monitoring content on torrenting websites might know that someone is sharing content, but they’ll only see the VPNs IP address, not yours. There is no way they could track that back to you over the VPN. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself against some of the automatic programs rounding up IP addresses.

It should also be noted that while any VPN is better than no VPN, some VPN services are specifically tailored for those who torrent a great deal, by offering speed in addition to encryption.

I hope this helps you understand what a VPN does and the advantages of using a VPN to be prepared and protected online. Thank you for reading.

Cassie Phillips

Cassie Phillips

Cassie enjoys writing about technology and her main area of interest is internet security.
Cassie Phillips

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2015-07-01T07:03:09+00:00 July 1st, 2015|Categories: Internet|Tags: , |