Whether you currently have a VPN or are contemplating obtaining one, you may be unaware of how they operate or how much they can accomplish. Below, we’ll give some history on VPNs and then discuss a number of the technology’s many applications.
While VPNs have existed for years, they have only lately gained popular acceptance. This amount of attention, along with an inflow of new consumers, has compelled providers to go farther than ever before to remain relevant. As a consequence, leading VPN providers have embraced the next generation of protocols and are always striving to offer a better service than their competitors. In other words, the market is favorable to buyers; there has never been a better time to be a VPN user.
How do virtual private networks work?
Typically, when you use the internet, your computer requests your Internet Service Provider (ISP), who then serves up the requested website. Certain ISPs, on the other hand, may deny access to certain websites and may throttle your internet connection if you’re engaged in prohibited activities such as streaming or torrenting.
A VPN acts as a mediator between you and your internet service provider. It encrypts all of your data, keeping your ISP from knowing the websites you’re visiting and altering your traffic in such a way that it’s difficult to determine your online behavior. Once connected, your ISP can see just one thing:
- IP address of your VPN server.
- Your overall bandwidth consumption.
- When you first connected to the VPN.
- Port number for which you are transmitting data.
- Your data packets are encrypted (and therefore unreadable).
Another benefit of utilizing a VPN is that it enables you to route traffic via a server located in a location of your choice. This implies that you can access information that is normally unavailable where you are if you want. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read our comprehensive guide on VPN connections.
What may a VPN be used for?
Preserve the privacy and security of your online activity
Above all, these services are designed to safeguard your digital privacy. This may mean that you want to utilize public wifi networks without having to worry about their lack of security, or that you just want to access the internet without your company, college, or network administrator keeping an eye on you.
In any scenario, the encryption and leak protection provided by your VPN make this simple and fast. Additionally, since the majority of large VPN providers refuse to record any data that might be used to identify an individual user, any organization, lawyer, or government requesting user information from the VPN provider will get no useful information.
Maintain secure access to your routine services when traveling
Numerous popular services are accessible exclusively in certain countries. Some are a bit more tricky since their content changes according to your location. They do, however, have one thing in common: they mainly use your IP address to determine your location around the globe.
When you use a VPN, your true IP address is concealed. Rather, the websites you visit will see the address of the server you’ve selected. This implies that if you utilize a server in America, you will seem to be surfing from the United States and will be able to access services that are only available in the United States, such as Sling TV.
The same concept also applies on a smaller scale! For example, owing to Major League Baseball blackouts, you will often be unable to watch the local baseball clubs’ games online when traveling out of state. However, by connecting to a VPN server in your state, you may be able to access your team’s matches.
Avoid censorship and freely surf the web
Depending on your location, some websites may be restricted. The United Arab Emirates, for example, does not permit the use of VoIP services such as Skype, while China’s Great Firewall bans vast swaths of information. This is, however, another kind of geographic limitation, and as long as you connect to a server located in a different country, you should be able to access anything you want.
The actual issue is that countries with tight internet censorship are very adept at detecting efforts to circumvent their limitations, which means that many VPNs will fall short. Fortunately, many big providers have been hard at work creating cloaking techniques (or, in some instances, completely new VPN protocols) capable of concealing the fact that you’re even utilizing their services.
Note that although VPNs are not illegal in the majority of countries, if you have any doubts about the legislation in your current area, we highly urge you to do your research before trying to use a VPN.
Torrent in an anonymous manner
Because of the way P2P networks operate, torrenting effectively connects you to every other machine in the swarm. The issue is that now that every other user has access to your IP address, you are vulnerable to DDoS assaults, geolocation, and perhaps even legal threats.
However, if you torrent while connected to a VPN, just the IP address of your selected server is revealed. This is a non-starter for anybody attempting to identify you, but some VPN services enable you to tunnel your traffic via several servers for further anonymity. Additionally, since a VPN’s network is considerably bigger than your local network, it can often withstand DDoS assaults with ease.
Overcome Internet Service Provider (ISP) throttling
Regrettably, net neutrality laws are not universal, and certain ISPs have been found to throttle the speeds of customers that regularly stream. VPNs reformat your data, preventing other parties from analyzing it and determining what you’re doing. This significantly complicates the case for limiting your connection and ensures that you get the speeds you pay for regardless of your chosen activity.
Obtain the most competitive pricing feasible
As is the case in the physical world, the price of digital products varies according to your location. For example, a streaming service may offer discounted initial pricing in Asia while charging the full price in the United States. These platforms are usually geo-restricted, but you may circumvent this restriction and pay the lowest possible price by connecting to a server in the nation with the lowest available rate.
Participate in international games with pals
Certain games prohibit you from changing server locations and interacting with players from different countries. However, with a VPN running, they will have no means of knowing your true origins and will simply place you in the regional player pool that corresponds to your selected area. Additionally, you may use a VPN to access games that have not yet been published in your region or that are country-specific.
Modify your Internet Protocol address
If you’ve been banned from a game, website, or online service in error, regaining access is often as easy as changing your IP address. This may also be advantageous for maximizing the use of freemium services that require payment after a certain amount of free usage.
Why we do not advise you to use a free VPN
While free VPNs may seem to be an easy option for people on a budget seeking protection, they often offer a poor replica of a premium service. You’ll often only have access to a few places, for example, and due to the high volume of other users, speeds will typically be very sluggish. You may discover that your selected VPN only allows you a certain amount of surfing each month. Privacy is not something you can afford to sacrifice sometimes, so it goes without saying that these services are ineffective.