Learn all about VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) including when you should and shouldn’t use them
Safely and efficiently use the web and the networks you need to access
You may well have heard the term “VPN” banded about a lot, but what is a VPN and what does it do?
The concept of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and how they work can be quite confusing and complex. Here we walk you through some of the pros and cons of a VPN and answer some of the common questions associated with VPN use.
What is a VPN?
A VPN connects your device to another network over the internet safely. It works as if you were physically connected to the network you are VPN’ing into and usually gives you the same accessed and credentials as if you were directly on the network.
When should you use a VPN?
Some common uses for VPN’s include;
- To connect to a central location (eg the office) from a remote location
- To encrypt communications coming out of, or getting into, a target location (or both)
- To encrypt the communications coming out of your device, but not targeted towards any particular location
- To connect business networks securely on the internet or to access a business network from one location.
- To safely browse the Internet without privacy invasion on public Wi-Fi and also it protects your data.
- To access region-restricted websites.
- Hides your true identity and helps you to remain somewhat anonymous.
- To access local network resources remotely by bypassing the censorship.
- You can also conduct your online banking transactions using its secure servers.
- Watch Netflix or some other streaming media website content.
Is VPN safe for banking?
Yes, VPN is safe for banking as long as you are using a reputable and trusted provider.
There are some unreliable free VPNs who keep logs and can pose a threat. Therefore, it is very important to choose a secure and reliable VPN connection.
What are the disadvantages of a VPN?
VPN, though very useful, has few disadvantages as well.
Does VPN slow down your internet?
Yes, VPNs do cause a bit decrease of a few MBPS here and there and so you can expect your browsing to be speed lagged. However, if you have a strong CPU and high-speed internet connection, then decreased speed might not even be noticeable.
Privacy can be endangered by using the wrong VPN.
This often happens with inexperienced providers and especially free VPN service providers as they do not offer properly configured encryption or can expose you to malware. Also, some providers keep logs about your online activities and can endanger your privacy.
Good quality VPNs can be expensive.
As free VPN providers are not that reliable, the only option left is a paid one which can cost you a bit more, especially in the long run. Though there are some good VPN providers with an affordable cost like CactusVpn which can serve your purpose.
VPNs are not always supported by the device.
While most of the operating systems do support VPNs, some of them don’t like Chromebook, Boxee Box etc. In such conditions, a VPN has to be manually setup on the device or operating system that requires to be used. Sometimes you have to set up a VPN on your router as well.
When should you not use a VPN?
If you prefer Targeted Advertising
If you like targeted advertising depending on your browsing history, then VPN might not be the best option for you, as it doesn’t track your activities.
You don’t care much about security
If you are unaware or not so concerned about your privacy leaking out then yes there is no need to take extra effort to set up a VPN.
You want to live like local when visiting another country
For instance, when visiting in a country like China and Russia where there is marked restriction in using the internet, and you seriously don’t want access to your social media or any other app then, also setting up a VPN is not necessary, unless you plan to do otherwise.
You are not interested in watching foreign shows
In such a case, a VPN is not required. Because a VPN can give you access to watch the geographically restricted shows easily.
Does my ISP know I use a VPN?
YES, it is quite likely that your ISP knows you are using a VPN. Even if you are using a secure VPN it will be routed through your ISP.
Mostly the connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted therefore the VPN company can see your IP address. Therefore, they can assess how much data is flowing by in the form of Bytes, but the encryption will make sure that everything seems to be in a coded gibberish.
It is important to note that the VPN company themselves will know what you are connecting to, hence it is important to make sure to pick the ones that keep no logs.
Is VPN safe for iPhone?
iPhones Support the setup for a VPN connection and it is completely safe to use it.
They have incorporated a VPN setup section in their interface. Hence, they want you to be able to access all kinds of online functions.
Should I use a VPN all the time?
At present, the VPN is recommended only when you are using public Wi-Fi, or for privacy.
It is not recommended to use a VPN all the time. Use it when you need it for the tasks that are appropriate but not when you access Netflix for example.
It is also useful in securing online banking and shopping activities if you want to keep your data secured or prevent them from getting sold to 3rd party marketers who intend to track your browsing activity for their agenda.
What is a VPN app?
For making your life easier and to set up a VPN connection on your Android or iOS devices, there are many free as well as paid apps that provide VPN connection.
You just need to install one and get started.
It provides a connection on demand and doesn’t suck up your battery life as well as running in the background. And for countries like China, a VPN connection can be very helpful as cellular networks do not always provide the best connections.
Is a VPN legal?
A VPN can be associated with illegal activities which tends to raise questions over its legality. In most countries including Canada, and the USA it is legal to use VPN.
Note that there are some countries that it is illegal to use a VPN and anything that hides your IP address and encrypts your data.
It is illegal to use VPN is some of the following countries;
- North Korea
Though some VPNs keep logs and are not quite as secure, whereas others can be secured by clearing off all the log activity.
There might be many points which can be added to understand the working of VPN, the above should provide a good starting point to understanding VPN.