Virtual Private Network: How To Choose A Right VPN
In the early stages of the internet, more and more people used the internet without any restriction but when the internet started to become a part of the normal human day routine, governments also began to take action against adult content, and even some countries blocked these sites from their region so the next generation can’t be exploited with the vulgar stuff or content of other countries.
But sometimes, every blocked thing isn’t bad, people can’t just take their eyes off something they want to watch or get information about, that’s where Virtual Private Networks came in. They offer the ultimate solution to surf the internet without being tracked, protect your IP Address, and provide you with the opportunity to do whatever you want within the internet.
In this article, we will cover what Virtual Private Networks are, how VPN works, what they do, types of VPNs, pros & cons of VPNs, and which VPN can be a tap solution for all of your internet-related problems. So don’t just stand there, take a seat so we can start the beautiful journey of Virtual Private Networks!
What Are Virtual Private Networks?
A VPN is a technology that creates a secure connection over public networks, encrypting data and hiding the user’s IP address. It enables access to region-restricted content while safeguarding online privacy and activities.
When you connect to a VPN, the VPN client on your device creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the Virtual Private Network server to allow data transmission securely, preventing snooping or manipulation of traffic. The encryption also hides your real IP address so your online activities remain private & no one can track you back or monitor your online routine.
VPNs were originally used by large corporations to allow remote employees to securely access company networks and files but with the rise of cybercrime and surveillance, VPN services have become popular among the general public who want to protect their privacy.
A Virtual Private Network can encrypt your internet traffic to protect it from being monitored or intercepted, hide your real IP address and physical location, access all the blocked or restricted content and websites, & bypass geographic restrictions to access content only available in certain countries.
They also protect your identity and sensitive activities like online banking to secure your connections on public WiFi hotspots to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks & prevent your internet provider from tracking and monetizing your browsing data.
How Does Virtual Private Networks Work?
When you connect to a Virtual Private Network, a secure encrypted tunnel is created between your device and the VPN server without the risk of interception or manipulation so the data can be transmitted privately & securely. The core technologies that allow VPNs to work are encryption, protocols, and tunneling.
VPN connections rely on strong encryption to scramble your data so that only you and the intended recipient can understand it even if the data is intercepted, it will appear as random gibberish to outside parties.
Virtual Private Networks use encryption protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec that utilize algorithms like AES-256 to encrypt data so that no outside party could never know or understand your personal information and private data.
These protocols handle authentication between your device and VPN server negotiate the encryption keys and encapsulate and manage the encrypted data packets being transmitted through the VPN tunnel.
Popular VPN protocols include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, WireGuard, and SoftEther which help to make the user experience of VPNs great & friendly.
This is the process of encapsulating encrypted private network data packets inside public network packets so they can be transmitted securely over the internet to create a virtual private “tunnel” between the user’s device and VPN server. Tunneling protocols used by VPNs include Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) which handles all the data packets moving through the tunnel.
When you launch your VPN client and connect to a server, the Virtual Private Network client first authenticates your credentials with the VPN server. An encrypted tunnel is then established and a virtual network interface is created on your device which reroutes your traffic through the tunnel.
As your traffic enters the tunnel, it is encrypted and inside the tunnel, your traffic takes on the IP address of the VPN server to hide your real IP and location. Your encrypted traffic exits the tunnel at the VPN server and is decrypted and then accesses the internet under the IP of the Virtual Private Network server which masks your true identity and location.
What Does A VPN Hide?
When using a Virtual Private Network, many aspects of your internet traffic and activity can be hidden from your internet service provider (ISP), network administrator, government, and other third parties. Here are some things a VPN hides:
- IP Address: Your real IP address is masked by the IP address of the Virtual Private Network server you connect through and hides your identity and blocks tracking of your online activities
- Location: Since you take on the IP of the VPN server you connect to, your real physical location is concealed as you appear to be accessing the internet from the VPN server’s location
- Browsing History: Websites you access over a VPN connection won’t appear in your ISP or employer’s internet logs so VPN traffic is encrypted so your browsing history remains private
- DNS Queries: DNS requests made through the VPN tunnel are encrypted to prevent your DNS queries from being monitored, profiled, and logged
- Bandwidth Usage: Your internet provider cannot see the details of your internet usage as all traffic is encrypted by the VPN and only knows you are connected to a VPN server
- Unencrypted Traffic: On public WiFi networks, a VPN will encrypt all your internet traffic to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks where data is intercepted in transit between your device and router
In summary, a VPN conceals your IP address, location, browsing history, DNS queries, bandwidth usage, and unencrypted traffic, ensuring anonymity, and protecting your online activities from surveillance or throttling.
Types Of VPN (Virtual Private Networks)
Not all VPNs are created equal because based on functionality, VPN services can be categorized into different types offering varying benefits:
Remote Access VPN
Remote access VPNs are the most common Virtual Private Networks used to protect personal and work-related internet traffic and use public infrastructure like the internet to securely connect remote users or branch offices to their organization’s network and core services.
Here, dedicated hardware VPN appliances are configured to connect entire office networks together transparently over WAN, internet or leased lines to allow the staff at multiple business locations to access internal applications and resources across the organization.
Mobile VPNs deliver the benefits of Virtual Private Networks to mobile devices like smartphones and laptops connected using cellular data or public WiFi to provide mobile workers with secure remote access to business networks and apps.
Organizations can extend private internal networks securely to external third parties like partners, vendors and suppliers via extranet VPNs because all data shared remains encrypted and segregated from the rest of the business network.
Split Tunneling VPN
This technique allows your local LAN traffic to travel outside the VPN tunnel directly onto the internet so the rest of your traffic goes through the encrypted VPN tunnel to improve the performance by removing bottlenecks.
Double VPN chains together multiple servers to route your traffic through two different locations so your data gets encrypted twice for added privacy and security but internet speeds are impacted.
Pros & Cons Of VPNs
Like any technology, virtual private networks have both advantages and disadvantages that are worth evaluating:
Which VPN Should I Really Choose For All My Needs & Why?
Choosing the right VPN service that meets all your specific needs and requirements can be an overwhelming task given the hundreds of providers in the market but don’t worry as we at VPN.com are the best VPN service providers on the face of the internet. Here are some tips for picking the ideal VPN for your individual needs:
- Identify your VPN usage–Are you looking to protect your torrent downloads, stream geo-blocked content, enhance gaming latency, or stay anonymous on public WiFi? Prioritize core requirements.
- Research trustworthy paid providers–Avoid free VPNs. A trustworthy paid provider like ExpressVPN or NordVPN is your best bet for premium privacy and speeds.
- Verify no-logging claims–Select providers that submit to external audits to prove no-logging policies. This ensures anonymity.
- Consider connection protocols–OpenVPN and IKEv2 offer the best blend of speed and security across multiple devices.
- Check server network health–Pick services with robust global server networks that deliver reliable speeds and multiple IP choices.
- Test speeds before buying–Evaluate speed, streaming quality, and lag during free trials to ensure satisfaction.
- Compare platform support–Make sure apps and setup guides are available for all your devices like Windows, iOS, routers, etc.
- Check payment flexibility–Can you pay anonymously using gift cards or cryptocurrency to preserve privacy?
Following these tips will help identify a VPN like Nord and ExpressVPN that ticks all the boxes in terms of premium privacy, unmatched speeds, zero traffic logs, wide protocol support, extensive server networks, and multi-platform functionality. The right VPN improves your internet experience.
Are Virtual Private Networks Legal To Use?
In most parts of the world, using VPN technology is 100% legal but there is nothing inherently illegal about routing your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to gain privacy and security. VPN services operate on the premise that VPN usage does not violate any laws.
However, how you utilize VPN technology could land you into legal trouble as downloading pirated content via a VPN, for example, remains an illegal activity that flouts copyright regulations but merely encrypting your connection is not illegal in and of itself.
Some repressive regimes like Russia, Iraq and Turkmenistan have banned Virtual Private Networks usage as they allow citizens to bypass state censorship and access information freely but as in general, VPN adoption is legal worldwide.
What’s The Average Price For A VPN?
VPN costs vary, ranging from $3 to $13/month based on the duration. Monthly plans average $10-$13, while longer 2-3 year plans can be $3-$4/month. The overall average cost for a premium VPN typically lies between $6 and $8 per month. Here are the typical costs:
- 1 Month VPN plan – $10 to $13 per month
- 6 Months Plan – $7 to $9 per month
- 1-Year Plan – $3 to $6 per month
- 2-3 Year Plan – $3 to $4 per month
Monthly plans are the most expensive while longer 2-3 year plans offer the most discount. Many providers also run seasonal promotions with big discounts because the average cost hovers around $6 to $8 per month for a full-featured premium VPN.
You generally get what you pay for so try to avoid free VPNs and seek paid ones from trustworthy providers like us to find anonymous payment methods for maximum privacy.
Is Virtual Private Network Safe To Use?
Using a reliable paid VPN from a reputable provider is safe. But just like any security tool, VPNs can also be misused by bad actors and come with some risks:
Free VPNs are never safe as they compromise privacy to make money so avoid them and some VPN browser extensions leak identifiable data like your IP.
Governments can legally compel VPN providers to share user data and weak encryption protocols like PPTP compromise tunnel security.
To use a VPN safely, purchase access only from top-rated premium providers that do not keep user activity logs and have robust privacy-preserving features enabled by default.
Are There Any Alternatives To VPN?
Proxy Servers, Tor Browser, Seedbox, SSH Tunnel, Shadowsocks, V2Ray, & Stunnel are some viable alternatives to VPN technology that enhance online privacy and security.
While some alternatives mimic certain VPN capabilities, only full-fledged VPN solutions offer the ideal blend of bulletproof encryption, robust privacy, global access, and fast speeds.
Can Someone Track Me If I Use A VPN?
No one can track your online presence if you use a premium Virtual Private Network whether they’re an ISP, Government, secret agency & cybercriminals because using a properly configured premium VPN makes it very difficult for anyone to track your online activities or identity.
However, given legal jurisdiction, VPN providers may share connection logs like timestamps which can hint at usage patterns. Also, WebRTC and DNS leaks can sometimes still reveal IP despite using a VPN.
How To Check If A Virtual Private Network is Working?
Verifying your VPN connection is private and secure is crucial. Here are 7 ways to check if your VPN is working properly:
- Check your public IP
- Check for DNS leaks
- Disable WebRTC in the browser
- Connect to public WiFi
- Access geo-blocked site
- Torrent address Check
- Speed tests
Should I Leave My Vpn On All The Time?
Leaving your VPN connection active at all times does maximize privacy and security but also has some downsides like a significant increase in battery drain and data usage on mobile, permanently slower speeds versus no VPN & device change leaks that can compromise VPN IP masking.
Virtual Private Networks have evolved into an essential internet privacy and security tool for the masses and if you allow the users to bypass geographical restrictions, hide their identity and location, encrypt connections, shield browsing data, and access blocked content safely, VPNs empower people to protect themselves online.
However, not all VPNs live up to their promises so It is critical to choose a premium provider that prioritizes user privacy, uses strong encryption protocols, offers reliable connection speeds, and has extensive server networks. Setting up the Virtual Private Networks properly across all your devices without leaks and learning how to use the tool responsibly is also important to harness its full benefit.
With online privacy concerns at an all-time high thanks to expanding government surveillance and ISP monitoring, having a secure and private internet connection through a VPN tunnel has become a necessity. Virtual Private Network adoption will only grow as more people, businesses and activists around the world use it to take control of their data and digital activities
Customer Reviews for NordVPN: In-Depth Review, Tests, and Stats
May, 2 2023
May, 6 2023
May, 4 2023