The Ultimate Beginners Guide to VPN

In 1989, Sir Tim Berners Lee and his team at the CERN's lab built the World Wide Web. While the initial vision of the new project was to enable scientists at CERN's to communicate better, the scientists felt the world would benefit more.

To showcase the power and benefits of the new project – World Wide Web -, the team built the first HTML website which is actually in existence even today. This website is hosted on Sir Tim Berners Lee computer at CERN's lab.

Although the developers of the World Wide Web envisioned a platform that enabled people from across the world to share information and communicate without restrictions. That is not the case today. While giving his keynote speech at the Gitex Technology Week, Berners Lee pointed out that a cabal of internet companies and other corporations have become too powerful.

He derived this from the many data sharing scandals currently affecting social media giants and search engine companies.

To remain anonymous when browsing online and protect yourself against data theft, use a VPN service.

What is VPN?

This is an age-old technology where a computer relies on tunneling technology to connect securely to a remote server in a distant location while it appears as if the user is connecting from a local computer.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it relies on encrypted tunnel technology to connect to a remote server operated by a VPN service provider. As a user, your real IP address is masked and in place of this, websites and other online applications will note your VPN IP address instead.

By doing so, not only are you able to circumvent geo-restrictions but you can remain anonymous as you browse the web.

How VPN Works

As said earlier, VPN relies on tunneling technology. There are two types:

  • Point to Point Tunneling Protocol
  • Layer Two Tunneling Protocol

To connect to a VPN server, you must first subscribe to one of the paid plans offered by a VPN service provider of your choice. After subscribing, you can download a Windows desktop client, Mac software or Android app.

Once you install the software, initiate it and you should see a list of countries. To connect, simply click on your desired connection. The software will use either PPTP or L2TP tunneling technology to encrypt the network. Basically, your data packets will be encapsulated finally creating a private network.

What you need to know is that for the connection to be successful, it must negotiate several variables. They include compression parameters, address assignment and encryption.

To transfer data within the tunnel, VPN relies on datagram-based protocol. To create and maintain the tunnel, it requires the tunnel management protocol. Once a connection has been created between the user’s computer and the VPN server, data transfer is possible. Thanks to tunneling technology, your ISP, website admins, search engines, social media networks, and others will not be privy of your real location or what you are browsing.

What Are the Benefits of VPN?

VPN has so many benefits to online users especially when it comes to security and privacy. Here are a few of the benefits we have managed to compile.

Enhanced Security

When you browse the internet without using a VPN service, you expose yourself to several online threats. For starters, you have malicious people who are always on the prowl to steal your data. For instance, your credit card details, your bank details, Social Security Number and passwords.

If you subscribe to a VPN service, your security is enhanced. As said earlier, VPN creates a private network between your computer and the VPN servers. This network cannot be hacked which ensures your security when working online.

Circumvent Geo Restrictions

Have you ever found a funny or interesting video online only for you to receive an error “this video is not available in your country”? If you have, then you know how frustrating this is. When you use a VPN service, you can circumvent such geo restrictions.

Thanks to tunneling technology, websites can detect your IP address as if you are using a local computer. For instance, if you want to view a video restricted to US viewers only, now you can with VPN.

Online Anonymity

Did you know that your ISP can view which websites you visit and what content you are downloading? Well, now you know. If you love reading Wikileaks or any other controversial content, your ISP will know.

To ensure you are anonymous when online, use VPN. VPN masks your real IP address and when combined with the tunneling technology, your ISP cannot know what websites you are visiting and what content you are downloading.

Browse Securely on Public WiFi

A vast majority of establishments offer free WiFi service to customers. For instance, if you walk into any coffee shop and order coffee and pastries, you can browse the internet on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

The problem with Public WiFis that security has not been enhanced. This means hackers can gain access very easily since your connection is not secure. By using VPN on public WiFi, no hacker will access your computer.

Does Not Affect Your Browsing Experience

One of the most popular misconceptions about VPN is that using the services results in a slow browsing experiencing. What you need to know is that VPN services actually accelerate your browsing experience.

This is because it does rely on your internet solely. The VPN servers have their own internet connectivity which is fast. As a result, your experience will not be sluggish.

How to Choose the Best VPN Service?

To select the best VPN service, there are factors you need to consider.

Server Locations

One of the reasons many people prefer to use VPN is to access geo-restricted content. For instance, you are an online user in Africa, Asia, Europe or South America and you would like to access restricted content from the US. To ensure you are able to access the content, check the VPN service provider website to know they have servers in your desired locations.

Logs or no logs

Any VPN service that keeps a log is a definite No. Why? Keeping logs about your browsing activities can promise your privacy and security. Governments and other corporations may demand or steal the data and use it to prosecute you. When choosing a VPN service, look for one that does not keep logs.

Cost

Today, you have free and paid VPN. Free VPN may be enticing because you don’t have to pay anything but such services may compromise your security and privacy maintaining logs. Instead of free VPN services, always choose paid VPN services.

Internet Speed

When you opt for free VPN services, the speed between your computer and the VPN server will be throttled. As a result, your browsing experience should be sluggish. With paid VPN, you are assured of a fast connection.

When it comes to downloading speeds whether you are downloading via your browser or torrent, the experience is usually sluggish. This is because VPNs reroute your connection via their servers.

Final Thoughts

As an online user, your privacy and security is of utmost importance. While internet browsers and even your ISP may promise that your data is safe, what you need to know is that this is not always true.

To prevent unauthorized users from stealing your data, use a reputable VPN service. By so doing, your connection will be secure and hackers will find it hard to steal your passwords or know what you are browsing online.

Good luck!

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