Safe surfing, security, protection of personal data, streaming and overcoming Geo-Restrictions are key features of a VPN. Read on to understand more in my VPN beginner’s guide.
What is VPN short for? Virtual Private Network. This technology offers huge benefits for all internet users. It majors on protecting your personal privacy. A VPN connection also gives you the ability to appear as if you are in a different country to the one you are actually in.
Here are 5 key benefits of VPN technology that makes a subscription to a well-respected VPN service worth its weight in your hard-earned cash:
The use of a VPN connection will:
- Overcome traps, blocks and other censorship forms. This allows viewing of content you would otherwise be unable to access
- It will allow you to overcome geographical restrictions placed on content due to copyright and other licensing laws. It does so by making it appear that you are in a different region/country than the one you happen to be in. This means that access to media streaming sites such as the BBC iPlayer and the full American Netflix catalog will be yours even when you are outside of the UK and USA
- Making use of a VPN connection will cloak your real identity (hide your IP address) from snoopers such as government agencies, ISPs, and hackers. This means you can surf in privacy
- It affords trouble-free downloading and file sharing
- When accessing any public Wi-Fi networks via a VPN connection you will do so in complete safety and achieve secure online sessions
VPN meaning – How things work:
Please don’t worry, this will not be a technical description, but a simplified overview of VPN technology, why it is so effective and what you need to do in order to use one.
The first thing you need to do is to sign up for a VPN provider’s service.
By doing so you will be using the services of a company that has VPN servers located around the globe. How many countries and locations each provider has should be clearly stated on their website.
The best VPN providers out there offer multiple simultaneous connections. The minimum is usually 3 devices, the maximum up to 7 devices. So, in this sense, the VPN meaning of simultaneous connections could be important. An example being larger families who all want a piece of that online action and the ability to surf safely.
These are the VPNs we recommend on our website:
You are set to go!
Once you have completed the quick and easy sign-up procedure you will be prompted to download VPN client software and/or a VPN app for your computer or device.
The VPN app then connects your preferred device(s), be that a Desktop PC, Laptop, Smartphone or other internet-enabled devices, to one of the VPN provider’s servers.
The location of the VPN server you connect to will be dependent upon what you want to do during your online session. And it may be different if you want to watch NBA live or a Champions League live stream, for example.
If it is simply surfing, checking e-mail and social media sites your VPN connection will be to a ‘local’ server. If you wish to overcome geographical restrictions the VPN server you connect to will be in the country or region where that content sits.
Once your VPN connection is established all data traveling between your particular device and the VPN server is encrypted. This means your privacy is assured because no-one else sees it.
To close on this point, and understand what is VPN functionality capable of, the VPN server becomes a gateway to the internet. As such it routes all of your internet data through it.
Is the VPN set up easy?
It really is a simple process and takes very little time to accomplish. While it is unlikely that you will run into issues, if you do, you always have the option of contacting the VPN provider’s helpdesk/customer service team to help you get going. This is another reason that gives importance to the VPN meaning of choosing a reliable provider.
Up and running, what benefits can you expect?
What is VPN technology beneficial for? I touched on this at the beginning of the piece, but let’s get into a little more detail:
Personal information should be yours to release as you wish. When you go online without a VPN connection that choice is taken out of your hands.
The use of a VPN service means that your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) can glean no data from your online activity. This is due to the encryption technology VPNs employ.
To reinforce this point you need to understand that your ISP will have no knowledge of any website you wish to visit on the internet. All they will see is that you are connected to a VPN, meaning they have no knowledge of what you do on the internet.
What is VPN technology useful for when it comes to hiding your real identity from websites? Without the use of a VPN connection, websites can establish your real IP address. This is a unique, specific address your ISP assigns to you.
By using a VPN service the website you are visiting only sees the IP address of the VPN server you are connected to thus hiding your real identity.
Insider tip: For those in the USA: American ISPs can now legally sell customer data to advertising companies, using a VPN connection ensures that the ISP in question is unable to collect any data about you.
The VPN meaning in terms of lifting geographical restrictions is an important one for those who enjoy streaming and accessing global content. Content that would not otherwise be unavailable to them. Do you know you can’t watch ESPN in France? Not without a VPN.
If you are an armchair aficionado and are looking for an uninterrupted, quality viewing experience it is important to make it your business to subscribe to the most suitable VPN service.
This makes getting an answer to What is VPN provider ability when it comes to gaining access to streaming media sites that would otherwise be blocked an important one.
Safe, secure access to free Wi-Fi services:
Question: What is VPN worth when it comes to protecting those who access free public Wi-Fi networks?
Answer: It is imperative!
Public Wi-Fi services are a haven for hackers and where many ply their trade. Snoopers can also have a field day when you connect without a VPN.
Conversely, the use of an encrypted VPN connection to access these services means you are thwarting the very real threat of having sensitive personal data stolen.
You simply have no knowledge of whether the free Wi-Fi service you are accessing is legitimate or not
Insider tip: Any ‘free’ Wi-Fi network that asks you to sign in with your valid e-mail address is a business that profits by selling this data to the highest advertising sector bidder. Don’t fall for it!
What is VPN technology worth to you?
This needs to be broken down into two parts:
- Subscription costs: What is VPN technology worth to you in terms of subscription costs? The payment plans offered by VPN providers do vary, but average monthly costs really are insignificant considering the benefits and peace of mind you will receive. You also need to bear in mind that respected providers offer such incentives as free trial periods, discounts for longer term subscription commitment, and ‘no quibble’ money-back guarantee periods.
- Peace of mind: What is VPN technology worth to you in terms of the safety, security, and enrichment of your online experience? Only you can judge that, but many have ignored it at their peril. ‘Unprotected’ online access is akin to playing Russian roulette with your personal data.
Insider tip: Please do not think that opting for a company offering ‘free’ VPN services is the way to go. The vast majority of companies offering such services will want something in return.
By their very nature, VPN networks need hefty investment, technical expertise and upkeep to operate successfully.
‘Free’ services are likely to leave you open to malware issues, slow connections, constant buffering and data mining of personal data which they will then offer to the highest bidder.
Even the few reputable companies that offer a free plan will do so with limited benefits. They do this in the hope that you will upgrade from the free service to a paid subscription offering far greater benefits.
VPN meaning = Solid assurances:
Taking into account all of the above, I hope you can appreciate that the real VPN meaning comes down to the protection of personal data, increased privacy and just as importantly, the enhancement of your online experience.
That’s it from me, I hope you were able to take some important messages from my VPN beginner’s guide. If so, please do not leave it there.
I have lots more articles on wide-ranging topics relating to that wonderful online world we should all have unrestricted access to. This includes a healthy selection of information on all-things VPN related.