You’re not the only one if you have no idea “what is a VPN?”, VPNs have just become more common in recent times, moving past the outdated association with remote working. A best VPN, which used to be more commonly used for business purposes, is now available in homes all over the world, facilitating users in staying safe online while also providing some additional benefits like accessing restricted websites, getting travel discounts and unlocking regional content on all popular streaming platforms.
Since you’re here, you definitely want to learn more about what is a VPN? and what it can do for you and what not. We’ll explain all you need to know about VPNs, whether your intended usage is streaming, private browsing, or simply keeping yourself safe online.
What Is a Virtual Private Network?
Virtual Private Network is known by the acronym VPN. A VPN, as its name implies, establishes a virtual private network between your device and a remote computer owned by the VPN provider that is located in some other place in the world. Your data passes through a link that is usually referred to as a “tunnel” and is also encrypted to give you increased protection and privacy. The connected server effectively becomes a “virtual” component of your home network; as a result, it is a virtual private network.
Even though it has only been a few years since VPN has become a common term, more and more users are discovering how things function and how a VPN can keep you safe online. Originally, VPNs were mostly used by the multinational companies whose employees were spread around the world, to make them privately access the company’s local network while keeping the connection secure. As technology advanced and need evolved, the use of VPN also became common to home users for multiple reasons except for providing security only.
TOP 5 VPNs in 2023: Key Highlights
|No. of Servers||3200+ servers in 100 countries||5582+ servers in 60 countries||6,500+ servers in 70+ countries||7,000+ Servers in 90 Countries||2,200+ Servers in 75 Countries|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux|
How Do VPNS Work?
Every time you use an internet service, your device whether it’s a laptop, desktop PC, smartphone, gaming console, or anything else is continuously making requests and receiving responses. Some of this information can be viewed by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), and if you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot or even Wi-Fi that isn’t your own, it could also be intercepted by the operator of the hotspot or any nearby hacker. Also, your approximate location, surfing habits, and even your personal information may all be accessible to the website you’re currently browsing.
By taking advantage of a VPN service, your device connects to a VPN provider’s server before passing to its actual destination such as a website or an app. By this, even the most well-equipped hackers will no longer be able to see what you are doing online thanks to the VPN’s server robust encryption, which effectively scrambles your data to make it unreadable.
Furthermore, websites are less able to track your online activity because they receive requests from the VPN server rather than your actual location.
Benefits Of a VPN Connection with your Devices
There are numerous benefits of using an affordable vpn service on all of your devices. We have listed down the most common ones which a user can take by using a VPN connection.
- Online Security: your browsing history and data is at risk when you connect to a Public Wi-Fi hotspot, Using a fastest VPN on your computer, smartphones, or tablet while using public Wi-Fi encrypts and conceals everything you’re doing online. It also safeguards you from hackers, fraudulent hotspot operators, and other people who might want to steal your personal information right away. Nevertheless, it also secures you when using your home or office network, so that your ISP or network administrator cannot track your activities.
- Keeping your Identity Private: In essence, VPN connections act as your online proxies. Since the VPN server that is hosting the demographic location data is in another country, your exact location cannot be determined. Additionally, a majority of high-end VPN providers don’t keep track of your activities, and even if they do, they only do so to enhance user experience. This suggests that any potential record of your online behavior is not accessible to the public or vulnerable to theft.
- Unlocking Regional Content or Restricted Streams: It’s not always possible to access local streaming content from anywhere in the world. Most of the streaming services tailor the content according to the regions. Therefore, you are unable to view regional content when away from home and international content while at home. But don’t worry! Changing your location with a VPN application is very simple. To do this, you just need to select a location of the server where you think the content might be available. After that, you will be able to access streaming services that aren’t offered in your country.
- Get Discount While Traveling: It can be financially beneficial to use a VPN to change your virtual identity. Prices for travel, lodging, and various online services can vary greatly from one country to another. By pretending to be in a different location, you may be able to negotiate considerably better terms.
What VPNs Can’t Do for You?
- Full anonymity: In some circumstances, even the finest VPN cannot fully secure you. Regardless of whether you use a VPN or not, if you register into a social networking account or other website, that site will know exactly who you are. Furthermore, websites may try to identify you by using cookies or other methods, as well as keep track of your activity. Despite their assistance, VPNs cannot completely ensure your online anonymity.
- Work as an Antivirus: Although there is a trend in the VPN market to include virus protection (and vice versa), virtual private networks cannot inherently prevent or remove viruses, malware, or online frauds. You will still require a reliable antivirus program for that.
- Providing you free-access to streaming platforms: It’s common to hear service providers tout their capabilities as excellent VPNs for streaming, and as was mentioned above, this is accurate when it comes to seeing foreign television program and sports. However, using a VPN won’t miraculously grant you a free subscription to Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, or any other paid streaming service. They will just unlock the door to stream the content once you have subscribed to the service using a VPN.
What are The Features of a Good VPN?
- Security and Privacy: It is the most important feature of any VPN. The VPN should at least offer AES-256 Encryption with DNS Leak Protection, Kill-switch and additional security features.
- Speed and Accuracy: Without a good speed, you simply can’t do anything with a VPN. Therefore, a good VPN should have a decent connection speed with very little impact from the base internet connection speed.
- Secure tunneling protocols: One of the most important things is to find a VPN that provides several tunnelling protocols that are compatible with all of your devices. These include WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
- No-log policy: It would be very easy for hackers to track your actions since you will have a unique IP address that only belongs to you. Selecting a no-logs VPN that strictly adheres to the policy and doesn’t store any information about its users’ online activities is crucial in selecting a good VPN.
- Streaming unblocking capability: One of the most common reasons for installing VPN on your device is to access different streaming platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, Disney+. Therefore, a good VPN should have strong unblocking capabilities along with a SmartDNS feature to unblock streaming services on devices that do not natively support installation of the VPN app such as Smart TVs, gaming consoles and Roku devices.
- Best Price and Deals: We can’t ignore financial safety even though internet security is now climbing to the top of the list of concerns. Because of this, a good VPN should provide the greatest value in terms of both quality and cost.
- Customer Support: Even though all the premium VPNs have comprehensive knowledge bases to address any issue that can be faced by a VPN user. But a good VPN should have a variety of customer support options, including those that are reachable round the clock.
On Which Device Can I Set up VPN Connection?
Even if you’re a complete newbie, using a VPN on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets is often simple. The majority of VPN providers have software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, and getting started may be as simple as installing any other app for your device.
Some service providers also offer assistance with setting up routers. For those who wish to completely protect every device linked to their network, it is an excellent solution. Additionally, some of the best VPNs include specific apps for platforms like Linux, Chrome OS, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more. This is useful if you want to unblock US Netflix or other content and stream it right on your smart TV.
Furthermore, you can also set up VPN for Apple TV, Chromebook, Nvidia Shield, PlayStation, Roku, Xbox, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, and more using SMART DNS feature.
Quick Steps to Set Up a VPN on Any Device
You can setup VPN on any of the above support devices in 3 simple steps as follows.
- Subscribe to a VPN, and then download it for your device.
- Select the plan which suits you the best and confirm payment, usually longer plans are cheaper.
- Download and install the VPN app on your device and press the CONNECT button!
Can We Trust on VPNs and Their Claims Blindly?
The finest VPN services, in our opinion, are reliable and go above and beyond to safeguard your privacy. Following are two parameters you should look for while choosing the VPN that ensures your privacy at all cost.
- Encryption Methods: The top VPNs must use the highest encryption methods in order to encrypt and decrypt your data. You may have encountered several denominations like AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256. The length of the key for the cipher is shown by the number at the end. It is generally accepted that stronger encryption results from using more bits. If a VPN uses AES-256 encryption methods, it implies that you can trust this provider, but it should be audited by an independent firm.
- VPN Audit: With the help of independent VPN audits, many providers are increasingly showcasing their commitment to privacy. These typically give reputable professionals from organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers or cybersecurity consultancy Cure53 access to their apps, servers, and code to perform in-depth technical checks and generally guarantee that your data is being protected. Audits are useful since they can validate that the servers and apps are functioning properly and don’t have any bugs or other flaws that could expose you. They can also discover fraudulent VPNs that might log your browsing.
- No-log policy: The most private VPN providers have a security policy that ensures they don’t keep any sensitive user data on file. While some details, such as your email address and payment choices, may be collected for functionality purposes, information that could identify you and your online behavior is never logged. To back up their claims of no logging, an increasing number of VPN companies now routinely submit their security procedures to independent audits.
How to Prevent Fraudulent VPNs?
The majority of VPN companies claim that they do not store records of the websites you visit, the files you download, or any other information about what you do online because they are aware that this is a major problem. Although these statements are comforting, can you really believe them? It’s unusual for a provider to openly state this on its website if they are tracking and selling your surfing data.
Picking a VPN that has undergone a VPN audit, as mentioned above, is the best course of action if you want to be absolutely protected. This is something that many of the greatest service providers already do. They engage outside consultants, let them look over their infrastructure, and get their stamp of approval that they are keeping their privacy commitments.
The cost of a premium VPN can range from about $2 to $12 per month, mostly depending on how long the membership is. If you only want to check out the technology, most companies offer free VPN trials (typically in the form of a money-back guarantee).
Despite the fact that VPN services typically list their prices in terms of monthly costs, you will still be charged the whole amount up front when you join up.
Some VPNs are completely unrestricted and cost nothing except the bandwidth or speed cap. These are quite appealing, but beware: in the past, free VPN programs have been used to spread malware, keep track of your online activities, insert advertisements into websites, and more. Even if the service provider is completely honest, it costs money to offer a quick, reliable service with unlimited bandwidth and competent assistance. No free VPN can hold a candle to the best premium providers.
VPN Glossary: Informative
|AES Encryption||Encryption method used by many VPNs|
|DNS leak Protection||Keeps you safe against exposing your real IP to attackers.|
|Geo-restrictions||Restriction applied on many streaming platforms and websites according to geographical location.|
|Kill Switch||A software button to terminate your browsing session immediately when connection to VPN server is lost.|
|L2TP||Short for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, L2TP is a tunneling protocol used to support VPN connections.|
|No-log/zero-log policy||The policy which doesn’t allow VPN to store your personal information and sell it to 3rd parties.|
|Proxy Server||It is another name for a VPN service but installation of the VPN is generally not necessary to use a proxy server. A simple IP and port address can do the job but it is not as secure as installing a dedicated VPN app.|
|Smart DNS||No. of devices on which VPN can be connected at a time.|
|Simultaneous Connections||A feature used on streaming devices where installation of VPN is not possible.|
|VPN Protocol||Set of instructions that VPN uses to establish a connection between you and the end website.|
|VPN Provider||The company who has marketed or owns the VPN service|
|VPN Server||A robust computer system built to host and provide the encrypted tunnel required to protect your data.|
|WireGuard||The newest and super-fast VPN protocol on the market. Originally developed for Linux-based operating systems.|
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a safe way for you to connect to the internet. Your identity and online activity are hidden from your internet service provider, authorities, and the websites you access. Greater online privacy and security are therefore ensured. You can also access geographically restricted content from any location with a VPN as not every country has access to all streaming services. A VPN can be enabled on any supported device by purchasing a subscription and installing its app on your device.
There are now several companies offering VPN connections for smartphones, which protect the privacy of mobile data traffic. In the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, you can identify approved service providers. But keep in mind that utilizing a VPN simply anonymizes and protects your internet data traffic. You are not protected by a VPN connection from malware such as viruses, Trojans, or hacker attacks. Consequently, you need to rely on additional reliable antivirus software.