A virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN, is a good investment when it comes to protecting your data. Prevent hackers from stealing your data, keep out snoopers and surveillance agencies, and bypass censorships with just one software. If you’re looking for the best VPN service reviews or where to buy VPN, this article is specially written for you. I’ll also answer some of the frequently asked questions on what, who, when, why, and where to buy VPN.
“What is a VPN and how does it work?”
Before I recommend the best VPN 2018, you have to understand first what a VPN is and how it works. Basically, a VPN is a network that creates an encrypted connection (also known as a ‘tunnel’) between your computer and a VPN service. Originally, VPNs were used to be able to work from home and access company files remotely. So even if employees are traveling or staying at home, they can stay on their company’s network as if they’re physically in the office.
This encrypted tunnel makes sure that your traffic reaches its correct destination. It also hides your activities from your internet service provider (ISP). As you probably know, ISPs intentionally slow down your bandwidth to discourage you from streaming and torrenting.
If you still have a hard time understanding how it works, picture this: the internet is a super-highway, and you’re driving your car along with plenty of other vehicles. All the other vehicles can see you. Anyone can just follow you to wherever you’re going and until you drive back home, so they’ll know where you live too. They can also peep through your car windows and see whatever you have inside your car. Pretty creepy, right?
To buy VPN is like having your own private tunnel where no other vehicle can go through. No one else can see where you’re going, when you’re heading home, what you’re up to, or whatever’s inside your car.
However, a VPN is not an all-in-one defense to all kinds of malicious threats. It won’t be able to protect you if you accidentally downloaded a malware, or if you fall for a phishing scam. There’s another tool for that — a good anti-malware software and common sense. If something seems fishy, it probably is. But whenever you’re browsing the internet and you want to stay secure and anonymous, a VPN is your first line of defense.
“Do I need a VPN?”
Do you use the internet on a regular basis? Do you shop, pay, and bank online? Do you have social media and email accounts? Then the answer is a big YES. You definitely need a VPN, no matter how much you say that you don’t go to the internet very often. As long as you have a mobile device or a PC that you use to go online, to buy VPN is one of the best investments you can get for your security.
If you have an email or social media account like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, choosing the best VPN app will protect your identity. Your messages can easily be intercepted, stored, and used against you if you’re not protected. You can also be traced because of your IP address, but the best VPN service will hide your IP address and assign you a different one so you can stay anonymous while you go about your online activities.
Businessmen, travelers, expats, and journalists also use a VPN to bypass censorships and geo-restrictions whenever they are in a different country. Some countries, like the UAE, China, and Cuba have extremely heavy censorships. Even apps that you would normally use on a regular basis are banned. People use a VPN to access websites and apps that are not allowed to be used in a different country.
For people who want to do peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, the best VPN software also allows torrenting. Make sure that the service you choose provides P2P, otherwise, it would just be a waste of money because not all VPN services allow this.
“How do I choose the best paid VPN?”
Unlike before, when there were only a handful of VPN services out there, choosing one could easily be narrowed down. Today, though, there are so many brands that claim to be the best VPN in the world. It has become more difficult to choose which one can protect you the best and has great value for your money. To make matters worse, there are even fake VPN services that trick poor customers who are looking to dodge surveillance.
Some of the factors that you should always consider when getting a VPN, no matter what your needs are, are the following: the brand’s reputation (is it an established VPN service that has been around for years?); encryption strength (most of the best VPN service use military-grade encryption); number of servers (the more options, the better); no recording of logs (so there is absolutely no data stored about your usage); ease of use; and customer support.
There are also free VPN services if you want to test the waters first before committing. However, since you’re not paying for it, you’ll have to watch ads, choose from only a few server locations, have a limited data allocation, and even have your usage logs recorded.
If you want the full suite of paid VPN, check out if they are offering a free trial or money-back guarantee. You’ll get to enjoy the features of a paid VPN without fully committing yet. Subscribing for a short period of time will also help you decide if the VPN service you chose was the right one for you.
“Can a VPN protect me from everything on the internet?”
I’ve mentioned it before but I’d like to elaborate on the scope and limitations of a VPN. Sure, it’s a robust and highly-efficient technology, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to every problem.
VPN services shouldn’t be used as a replacement for anti-malware tools. Instead, it should complement one another because they both protect your data and files in different ways. A VPN cannot protect you from viruses, ransomware, and adware. Similarly, an anti-malware tool cannot encrypt your traffic. They are both needed to ensure that no data is stolen and no malicious files are downloaded in your computer.
If you want to stay fully anonymous whenever you browse the internet, use Tor browser. It’ll slow down your connection and it doesn’t load very fast but it’s an efficient way to stay hidden. Tor works by hopping around volunteer nodes before reaching its destination. It can also be used to access the deep web, which you can’t normally do with a VPN.
VPN services can also prevent DNS attacks and phishing scams, but sometimes there are still people that fall into this trap. This is why you should never be complacent just because you already have a VPN. Common sense and carefulness are still the most inexpensive way to stay safe. Only visit HTTPS websites (websites with a padlock icon preceding the URL) and be wary about unsecured sites that require you to fill up forms,
“Should I get a free VPN or a paid VPN?”
Most VPN services are paid and the cost ranges around $6 – $12 per month depending on the type of plan. If you want to slash your expenses, there are also free VPN services that don’t require you to pay anything at all. It’s free for you to use and download, but there’s always a catch.
One of the cons of using a free VPN service is the annoying stream of advertisements. Because you’re not paying for the app, the developers have to monetize it in another way, and that is through ad placement. If you don’t mind the constant ads popping up on your screen, then good for you. Some VPNs even give you credits or points for watching a video ad.
Another disadvantage of using free VPN is the limitation. Whether it’s limited servers, limited data allocation, limited bandwidth, or limited features, you’ll never be able to use the full VPN suite with the paid version. For example, TunnelBear, one of the most popular free VPN services, has no server limitations but only gives you 500 MB of data (you can earn more data by recommending TunnelBear to your friends). The free version of Hotspot Shield doesn’t have a limit on the number of simultaneous connections but you can only connect to US servers.
If these terms are okay with you, then a free VPN will help you save money. However, make sure to always read the fine print before you click ‘Subscribe’ because some free VPN services will keep logs of your usage. It’s better to pay for a secure service than save money but compromise your data.
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