A VPN Explained for Everyone
The term VPN can be a bit overwhelming for people who are not tech-savvy. The abbreviation of VPN (Virtual Private Network) gives away nothing about the services it provides and is sometimes a bit confusing. So in this article, we simplify what VPN is so anyone can understand its usefulness and decide whether they need a premium VPN service or not.
What does VPN do in very simple terms?
Your internet company, also known as ISP (Internet Service Provider), can track your online activity and sell this data to third-party advertising agencies. Hackers can also exploit the system and get access to your personal data. This can be very scary and a direct violation of your privacy. Other people should not be able to track your browser history, and so one of the main use cases of VPN is to create a virtual network that will mask or hide your data from the internet company or anyone who might be trying to exploit your data. In technical terms, this is known as a fully encrypted connection.
A VPN can also protect your privacy when using public wifi. Airports, hotels, or even your local Starbucks all use public wifi, which can be hacked by cybercriminals and can be used to access your personal data. This may include your banking information, credit card details, passwords for your social media, and so much more. This can be scary, and when you factor in that over 2,200 people are hacked every day in the US, you can quickly see the importance of a premium VPN as it stops all these risk factors.
A VPN can also be used to stop website tracking. A classic example is when you browse the price for an airline ticket; the website usually uses the data to predict your search patterns, your location, and even your annual income to give you an inflated price. You can use a VPN for cheaper flights as the airline or booking agencies do not have any of your personal data and are unable to track you.
VPNs can also be used to open geo-locked content. If you are familiar with online streaming sites like HULU or NETFLIX, you will be surprised how much content you are missing out on because it is not available in your particular country. Other restrictions may include social media and instant messaging, like the WhatsApp ban in some countries. All of which can be unlocked with a premium VPN.
Is it legal to use a VPN?
If you use a VPN to hide your location, it’s assumed you’re planning to do something illegal. True, criminals who don’t want authorities to see what they’re doing online may use VPNs. But VPNs are completely legal as privacy is your constitutional right. As long as you do not use VPNs to do something illegal, using a VPN is completely safe and is being used by over 31% of all internet users.
How to use a VPN
Now that we have learned the basics of VPN and how it works, let’s look at how to use a VPN service on your device; it is as easy as downloading the right app and then pressing a button.
You can get started for free from your phone or computer; find a reliable vpn and choose the appropriate plan that best suits your needs. The website will prompt you to download an app. After downloading the app and installing it on your device, you can turn it on, and you will see a big “ON” button, which you can press to turn on the VPN.