Do I Really Need a VPN?

The internet can be a dangerous place where anything goes. We often hear horror stories of identity theft, credit card fraud, and government surveillance. At any point, sometimes through little doing of our own, we can find ourselves falling victim to any of these transgressions. Let’s face it. The internet is pretty much a modern day Wild West.

On the flip side, the internet can also be a very restrictive place. Companies and governments can and often will restrict your online activities. They can impose control on what anyone does based purely on that person’s physical location.

So it seems that, depending on what you try to do, the internet can be both risky and wild but at the same time very tightly controlled. Thankfully, there is a single solution that can take care of both problems. That solution is a VPN.

In previous posts, we have talked about how to pick a VPN, and how to improve its performance. But so far, we have not addressed probably the most basic question: do you even need a VPN in the first place? To answer that, let us look at a few scenarios which show the usefulness of using VPN service. Walking through these should open your eyes to the types of dangers and dirty practices that it can solve.

Government Snooping

Even though it may not be as pervasive as it is in China, the American government undeniably spies on its citizens. It employs several techniques, including monitoring activity metadata and gathering information from ISPs (which they are legally required to provide) to track your online habits.

As mentioned, in other countries, of course, the problem can be much worse. Governments will monitor and even prevent access to entire sections of the internet in an attempt to control its citizens.

You can protect yourself from censorship and surveillance by using a VPN. The encrypted tunnel through which your data will pass will ensure you get back your online privacy and your right to express yourself freely.

Use a VPN to stop government online spying

Throttling

Do you sometimes wonder why certain videos take ages to load or why certain files take forever to download? The answer could be your internet service provider throttling your bandwidth based on your activity. To accomplish this, they have to intercept and inspect your data transfers, and that’s something they can do with ease. A scary thought indeed.

Much like in the case of government snooping, because using a VPN will send all your data through an encrypted tunnel, it will make it impossible for the ISP to know what you’re up to. Welcome back privacy and internet speeds actually matching what you pay for.

Anonymous Searches

Have you ever noticed how ads you see online are strangely related to search engine queries you have recently made? It’s no accident. All the key search engines, from Google to Bing and Yahoo, tie any searches you make to your IP address. Those companies can then use that information to target you with ads.

Some of us may not mind this practice. After all, if we search for something we must be interested in it. Well, what if my wife decides to do some hair product research using my computer? I’m not all that interested in seeing Pantene Pro-V ads for the next three weeks. Using a VPN will make sure that does not happen.

Public WiFi Security

Think how often you end up using a public WiFi network. If you’re like me, the answer is as often as you can. It’s a good way of staying within your phone data plan, and an excellent way to keep in touch with the world when you travel. Unfortunately, using a public WiFi can be quite treacherous.

On larger networks, like those at airports, hundreds of other users can be sharing the network with you. Given just a bit of know-how, any one of those individuals can be intercepting and looking at the information you send and receive. The same goes for the company providing the WiFi service.

Using a VPN will stop both in their tracks. Although it can’t prevent anyone from intercepting your data, the secure encrypted connection a VPN provides will make sure that any data that is intercepted is useless.

Stay safe on public WiFi networks with a VPN

These were but a few example cases where using a VPN can be very useful if not vital. Just remember to pick the right VPN service for your needs. Visit Fastest VPN Guide and find all the information you’ll need to make that choice right on their site. Also remember that using a VPN will slow down your internet connection. But, with our recent post on how to improve your VPN speed, however, you will be well taken care of.

How To Choose A VPN Service Provider

I though an appropriate first article would be to describe how to go about selecting a VPN provider. There are a few basic things everyone should think of when doing so.

A VPN (virtual private network) is a service/tool commonly used to help protect online privacy, especially when surfing on an unsecured network. This tool works by creating an encrypted tunnel where a user’s data is transmitted, hence making it virtually invisible to internet service providers or anyone snooping on your internet activity. The industry grade encryption makes it next to impossible for anyone to decipher hence guaranteeing anonymity and security online. With the many VPN providers out there, deciding on the best supplier to go for can be tricky.

How to select a VPN provider

Knowing what features to look for in a service provider can, however, give you an edge in identifying the right vendor. Some of the features and factors to consider when choosing a VPN service provider include:

  1. Technical Support

    While most companies have a customer support system, checking their availability and their knowledge of various technical issues is recommended. It would, therefore, be best to go for a provider with 24/7 technical support. This is especially important if you depend on the VPN for business operations.

  2. Reliability

    How reliable the provider is, should be your concern as well. A service provider’s reliability can be measured by the number of times its service is up or down. Although downtimes may be inevitable, the provider should provide at least 99% uptime.

  3. Connection Speeds

    The VPN’s connection speeds should be constant and fast enough. While this may depend purely on your ISP, the VPN service should have minimal effect on the connection speed.

  4. Account Setup Process

    Account setup should not only be simple but not take up a lot of your time. Creating an account with some of the best service providers takes up less than 5 minutes.

  5. VPN Protocols and Encryption Level

    If you’re concerned about data encryption and security, it would then be best to look into the VPN connection protocols. SSTP and OpenVPN are considerably the most secure protocols today. SSL VPN protocol is however recommended for firewalls that block VPN connections.

  6. VPN Bandwidth

    How much bandwidth the provider has to offer should be your other concern. If you need the VPN for day to day online services (watching videos, downloading, or surfing the internet), you may then have to go for high or unlimited bandwidth. This does not have to be expensive either.

If you value your online privacy more than anything, then VPNs can come in handy. Even the largest companies and organizations today use VPN services to protect their business data and connections. VPNs do more than just encrypt your connect, they hide your IP address, and secure private data on your computer. The will stop hackers and other malicious or curious individuals right in their tracks.