What Is A VPN?
Incase you’re not already sure exactly what defines a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or how they work, here is a little memory-jogger…
Every computer has an IP address. This is assigned to the computer by what is known as an ISP which is what can be used to essentially figure out where you / your computer is in the world or at least, the general geographic location. For lots of people, it’s pretty close to their exact location.
Pretty scary, right?
Lots of people don’t even know about this. But some of the ones who do, have turned to VPN’s for privacy.
VPN’s allow you to change your geographic location. They do this by overriding the existing IP address that is automatically assigned to your computer from your ISP (using one of its mass of servers)
But it’s not just people that want to “hide” their location that use VPN services.
VPNs also encrypts all online data traffic which therefore ensures data stays hidden away from any third party companies.
Especially when you are most vulnerable when travelling or out on an open network.
Almost like how a firewall protects your computer from viruses.
However, you must note that data is only protected whilst in transit. If the site you are visiting is not using what is known as HTTPS, the time that you are on the site / that part of the connection stays unencrypted.
People that want to access your data can use very complex timing algorithms to access your data at that point… but they would have to really, really want your precious data to go to all that trouble… we hope.
What are the benefits of VPN’s?
The benefits that have already been mentioned should be enough reason to get anyone who wants their privacy back to at least check out VPN’s in more detail.
However, if you need some more reassurance / reason then here we go…
VPNs have become very popular amongst businesses and companies as well as with personal use.
Some benefits to having a VPN system working throughout the office means that businesses can actually save costs by getting rid of the need for high-cost, long distance leased call lines as well as reducing the worldwide telephone charges. VPN’s can also offload support costs to the provider that the business is buying the VPN from.
VPN’s also offer “safe” or “safer” connectability through public servers due to the fact that VPNs encrypt all data.
Previously, businesses would have to use connections like T1 lines to ensure private data transfer.
With VPNs, it’s a completely different story.
How can all of this help you?
If you feel like you’ve got “nothing to hide” or are just wondering how being able to use the internet in a more secure, private way can directly help you then the following should help you understand…
Contrary to popular belief, when the government or hackers steal your data it doesn’t just allow them to check out the sites you’ve been visiting or even the messages you may have been sending to people. In fact, these hackers can gain access to your username and password to various sites with little “hacking skills”.
Yes, thats right…
It doesn’t take an expert hacker to steal your username and password from you when you are connected to a public wifi hotspot.
People have been known to put their business at risk and even lose their job by not using a VPN.
Imagine this… you are in a nice coffee shop, sipping on a Espresso, doing some for the business.
You’re connected to a public wifi hotspot and log-in to your businesses wordpress account.
There is a hacker lurking around… he steals your password and username, logs into the wordpress account and deletes all of the blog posts or even the website itself.
Who does it look like did it? You. It was all under YOUR username…
So, even if you aren’t majorly fussed about protecting your geographic location, VPN’s do a whole lot more by protecting you against hackers.
Are there any cons to VPN’s?
Like a lot of things in life, not everything is perfect. In this instance, it can be, but it’s not always.
Since VPNs have become more popular, there have been hundreds of companies offering a wide range of different services. Each one of these services have different terms.
Some VPN providers have been found out to have been stealing people’s data and selling it onto 3rd party companies.
Other people have had problems with connectability with complaints of servers often failing.
So, finding the most trustworthy and reliable connection is essential.
Luckily enough, there are some providers out there with great all-round reviews, non-dodgy T&A’s and solid connectivity with secure encryption on all your data.
Conclusion / Summary
In conclusion, from what we can see here, VPNs offer an extremely interesting and helpful service. Privacy is important to everyone and a trusted VPN provider might just be the answer for you.