What is a VPN? – Virtual Private Networks

What is a VPN? It’s a question more and more people are asking—and for good reason.

The Internet isn’t as free or open as it once was. Censorship is becoming commonplace. Worse, governments and corporations currently track every byte of data sent between Internet-connected devices.

What Does VPN Stand For?

The term VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.

Originally, VPNs were used almost exclusively by businesses. You might work remotely. However, with a VPN, you can access your company’s Intranet and network resources from anywhere. There are also lots of practical reasons you might do this.

  • In countries like China, businesses rely on virtual private networks to work with international colleagues and bypass China’s famous Internet Firewall .
  • All virtual private network traffic is encrypted. This makes it impossible for spies, cyber criminals, or people without direct authorization, to monitor your behavior online.
  • When you access the Internet via a virtual private network, you appear as browsing online from your VPN’s host country. This is essential when some online services might not be available in your physical location.

Because of their many benefits, many businesses still use virtual private networks. However, VPNs are now also increasingly made use of by everyday Internet users.

What is a VPN and Why Should You be Using a VPN?

Online tracking and monitoring have been with us since the dawn of the Internet. In the beginning, most people also saw online tracking of Internet users as harmless. This is why we have the famous saying, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

Sadly, governments and corporations now use security as an excuse to harvest as much information as possible about everyone online. Corporations use this information to better target advertisements. However, many also share and sell this data. Others use things like location data for altogether more nefarious purposes.

  • Prices for online products and services often change dynamically to match an
    Internet users’ location.
  • Streaming media services like Netflix make different content available in
    different locations and charge dynamic subscription prices.
  • Internet service providers (ISPs) monitor user downloads and streaming habits.
    They then notify copyright owners when they suspect that illegal sharing or
    viewing of content might be taking place.

In places like the UK, it is also not uncommon to get a call or a knock on the door from local police, if they suspect you of saying something disagreeable on social media.

If any of the above makes you feel uncomfortable, you need a VPN.

What is a VPN and What Does a VPN do Exactly?

When you use a virtual private network to access the Internet, neither your ISP nor anyone else can see what you do online. This is made possible thanks to the fact that VPNs route all your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel.

To discover how VPN encryption works, click here.

Different virtual private network clients work slightly differently. 

Why Should I Use a VPN?

Some people associate virtual private network usage with illegal activity like torrenting. This is possible. However, most people today use VPNs to improve their online privacy and security.

  • Using a VPN makes it easy to access the Internet securely, even when using
    unsecured wi-fi hotspots.
  • When using a VPN, you can avoid throttling of your Internet speed by your ISP.
  • Using a VPN allows you to bypass local Internet censorship and access content
    that is otherwise not available in your area.

We have reviewed lots of VPN’s and this is the VPN review we think you should check out.