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Virtual Private Network (VPN) Explained
What is a Virtual Private Network?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network of servers that help users maintain their privacy and security online. Typically, robust communication protocols and encryption are used to connect between servers and its users.
VPN in deconstructed terms can be seen as:
- Virtual – Connections created exist only in cyberspace.
- Private – Servers involved are all private and not open to everyone.
- Network – Various devices are being linked together.
How VPNs Actually Work?
In simple terms, a VPN service connects your device to a secure server at a location of your choice (as long as the service you are using has a server there). From there, your connection is routed on to whichever website you are heading for. The connection between your computer and the server you connect to is encrypted. This helps safeguard any data that is being sent or received from your device to the VPN server. This segment is the security portion of the VPN.
Aside from that, using a VPN server also means you borrow a temporary IP Address. The IP is what is used to identify each device that’s connected to a network. The temporary IP is what any website you’re connecting to sees. Because of this, your real IP remains hidden.
Some websites don’t like users who use VPN connections. While they can’t usually tell who those are, a red flag may be multiple users all originating from the same IP address. That’s why the best VPN service providers regularly update their IP addresses to avoid getting blacklisted.
Are VPNs Necessary?
Yes. The fact that a VPN ranks the same with an antivirus program in terms of being protected online from data breach or unethical hacking speaks much for itself. VPNs are popular today as they have uses that go past merely privacy and security. Overcoming geo blockings, getting around authority’s censorship, and prevent bandwidth throttling are some other key reasons why people signup to VPNs.
When you should not use a VPN?
There are two scenarios that you should not use a VPN: Law violation and slow internet.
If it is illegal to use a VPN service in the country you are at, you may end up paying a huge fine or even going to jail if caught. The world is large and each country has very specific regulations about personal privacy, various technologies and other factors. Be aware of where you are when you’re using a VPN service.
In some cases, using a VPN may actually result in slower Internet connections. For high speed lines, this may not be much of an issue. For those with slower connections, you may find yourself having to disconnect your VPN to get usable speeds sometimes. Of course, much of this also depends on other factors such as the server you’re connecting to, but it’s another issue to be wary of.
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