What is a VPN and why do I need it?
A virtual private network, or VPN for short, is a clever piece of software that keeps your internet activity private and secure. It stops ISPs and authorities from tracking what you do online, while protecting you from hackers looking to intercept your traffic.
No matter your web browsing habits, or where you’re using the internet from, a VPN is an essential tool for anyone keen to stay private and secure online.
There are four main reasons to use a VPN:
1Keep your online activity private
Everyone has the right to use the internet in private, and a VPN is a crucial tool for helping you do just that.
Whether it’s your school, workplace, ISP, or government monitoring you, a VPN works to keep your web activity private and increase your anonymity. It also safeguards your personal data to prevent it being sold to advertisers.
2Protect yourself from hackers on public WiFi
You take a huge gamble every time you connect to public WiFi unprotected. Their open nature allows hackers to easily conduct ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks, which can involve eavesdropping, intercepting your private data, or phishing.
A VPN is one of the only ways to use public WiFi hotspots safely and prevent these hacks. It shields you from all the hackers and snoopers, allowing you to use the internet without worry of being spied upon or having your details stolen.
3Bypassing censorship by your school, workplace, ISP, or government
Even in places like the US, the UK, or Australia, the internet isn’t as free as you might think. At the very least your ISP is monitoring everything you do online, while the government has the power to demand logs of your online activity, including all the websites you’ve visited.
If you’re in China, Turkey, or a number of other highly-censored countries then the situation is much worse. Censorship at the highest level can prevent you from accessing essential sites like Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia.
A good VPN creates a private connection between you and the VPN server to direct web traffic around those web blocks. The best VPN services are very reliable, safe and practically undetectable – we recommend VyprVPN and Astrill as two effective anti-censorship VPNs in particular.
4Unlock online content that is geo-restricted
There’s also a wealth of online content, including entire websites and apps, that are geo-blocked. This means that you may not be able to access them based on where you’re located.
When you connect to a server in a VPN network it doesn’t just encrypt your traffic, but it also makes it look like you’re connecting from the location of the VPN server. That means that websites and apps think you’re actually based there, rather than where you physically are in reality.
How exactly does that work? The explanation is surprisingly simple.Your IP address is replaced with that of your chosen VPN location, and now the online content you were trying to access is unlocked. The more servers your VPN offers, the more countries you can connect to. For example HideMyAss! has servers in over 190 countries – the most we’ve ever seen.