What is a VPN? – 2021 Beginner’s Guide

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A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

Why do you need a VPN?

Firstly, it is important that you know something: our presence online is not anonymous as we might think. Our IP addresses reveal our geographical location, our data are collected by companies, our browsing habits are tracked, etc… Also, the internet is no longer that decentralized resource accessible from any user all the world that once was. Today, there are geographical restrictions: for example, you can’t access US Netflix if you are located in Europe.
And this is basically why you need a VPN: hide your geographical location, bypass filters, and restriction, and protect your data through encryptions. But let’s proceed one step at a time. Keep on reading to find out what’s a VPN, how it works, how you can get one, and other recommendations.

How does VPN work?

When you connect to the internet without using a VPN, you are connecting through your internet service provider (ISP). The ISP assigns a string of numbers to identify your device, and that’s your IP address. The IP address provided by your ISP contains information about your geographical location.
What happens when you use a VPN instead?
When you use a VPN, your device connects to the VPN’s server and then to the internet. This way, the IP address comes from the VPN rather than your computer. VPN servers are located all over the world, and this is how they can allow you to bypass country restrictions: if you are in the UK and want to connect to US Netflix, all you need to do is connect to a VPN server located in the US and then access the Netflix platform.
Additional features provided by VPN’s
A VPN can actually do more than hiding your IP address and let you access foreign platforms. For example, it can encrypt all your browsing information and the sensitive data that you sometimes provide to platforms (such as your credit card number to Amazon). This way, if an attacker tries to steal or read those data, they’ll only obtain something incomprehensible.
Some VPN providers also allow you to create an encrypted backup of all your data and files.

How to get a VPN?

VPN tools or applications are available on different types of platforms and mobile devices so it isn’t that hard to find one. Most VPN services are FREE but have limited features. Paid VPN services offer more features for theirs users. The only way to get a more secured VPN connection is to subscribe to a service provided by a VPN provider. There are tons of VPN providers available and most of them would require you to pay a monthly bill – they are not that expensive, the average price for a month of service is $10, but you can obtain huge discounts if you subscribe for 6 months or a year. Some examples of VPN service providers are Nord VPN and Pure VPN. 
These tools will provide you with a simple interface through which you can choose what server to use from those that are available with that VPN provider. After that, you can browse the internet as always.

Are there any VPN cons?

We’ve listed all the pros of utilizing a VPN, but are there any cons? There is actually a couple of issues that you could face, especially if you rely on cheap and poor quality VPN providers: they concern the stability and speed of your connection. Some VPN may slow down your connection, so you want to pick a provider with a huge server park available so that it can ensure stability and – with stability – speed.
To conclude, VPN is an ideal solution to avoid revealing your location, protect your information and data, and also bypass the country restrictions to access your favorite platform. A VPN makes the internet that inclusive and democratic place that once was and was born to be.
If you are trying to find the best VPN service provider for your internet needs but you are not sure to go about which one then we recommend you check out our article on the TOP 8 Best VPN Service Providers of 2020.
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