Are you here because of a video not available in your area? Or is it because you think someone is trying to hack you?
Will since you are already here, let us explain as briefly as we can everything you need to know to make a decision.
On the first part of the article we will have a small review over what a VPN is and how it affects our internet usage.
Then following in this article we will see:
- 4 ways a VPN can help us
- 6 other ways it simply can’t
- We will also mention 7 things you want look for when getting a VPN.
This is implying you don’t know how to set up your own virtual private network or just a private network in general.
So what does a VPN do?
Have you ever seen Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone? There is this invisibility cloak that you wear and you become invisible.
Except when you “wear” the VPN it makes you look as if you were somewhere else. More like masking your address rather than making it invisible.
This process is called encryption. Encryption is the process of encoding a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it.
Or have you ever thought about being in two places at the same time? A VPN kind-off does that for you.
Your computer or mobile device has its own address called an IP address.
As a matter of fact, all internet-connected devices have a local public or private internet protocol (IP) address (like 172.95.333.1) that was a random number so I wouldn’t know where it would take you.
Here is public information taken from Google about how they use your information:
“About IP addresses
An IP address (short for Internet Protocol address) is used to identify computers on the Internet. It works like a return address would on a piece of mail.
How IP addresses work
When your computer or device sends a request, like a search on Google, it tags the request with your IP address. That way Google knows where to send the response.
How Google uses your IP address
Your IP address is usually based on a real-world location. Google might use your IP address to guess where you are and give you local results.
For example, Google could use your IP address to give you the weather forecast for the town you’re in when you search for weather.”
That being said, if google can see your location, then anybody else who has access to your IP address such as any website that you visit, can access your personal information as well.
When you Access a website you’re always requesting information like text or video or image. An exchange of information is done.
That’s why it’s also important every website you access and request or give information has a HTTPS, meaning Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure which is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet.
Just like this website has, if you take a look at our URL you will see the lock beside it. But that’s another topic.
What this means for your internet protocol address:
VPN’s are widely used by most corporations, hotels, airports, universities and any company that has important information they wouldn’t like to share.
Most VPN’s are available for all devices meaning PC, MAC, iPhones and Android smartphones
So why would an individual like yourself use one?
Well most of the pieces of data that you leave behind about yourself are mostly used for advertising.
But other than protecting yourself from impulse buying, it has some other perks like for example:
- Getting cheaper products like instead of ebay.com, the uk version has a cheaper price with the conversion rate
- Like mentioned before, you can watch content restricted to your area from Hulu, Youtube or other streaming service.
- When you are traveling abroad you can see content you wouldn’t otherwise because it’s not the same region.
- Your information stays protected from hackers.
You should first be informed about your own country’s privacy laws and of course the agreements of any VPN you decide to use. It may sound like a lot, but you don’t want to be banned from your favorite websites.
Which now brings us to the question; is it necessary?
Well it has to be the same answer as many other individual needs; it depends.
Before we answer that question we must dig into a few other things in which a VPN can’t be so helpful such as:
- Some VPN companies will still take your information, and we don’t know what they will do with it, possibly sell it for advertising purposes. Especially the free ones.
- The installation itself can be difficult to configure.
- They can actually slow your internet. You can experience lag while watching videos.
- Most VPN’s have known encryption keys which means if somebody REALLY wanted to hack you, they would.
- Most hacking we’ve ever witnessed or seen on the news, is with a purpose. Unless you have a lot of money backed up to worry about, in that case we would suggest you speak to your bank regarding their security and insurance policies.
- Netflix is currently blocking users with known VPN’s that means other big companies will follow.
If you do decide to get a VPN you should look for the following:
- Their privacy agreements
- Whether they use different server countries to hide your IP
- Their level of security (of course the more you pay the more secure it HAS to be)
- Support for mobile devices
- If they give the same addresses to certain users to hide them in the same place
- The interface, do you see yourself using it daily, comfortably once you paid for it?
Once you get one you can use this website https://ipleak.net/ to verify your IP address.
We got a lot covered, I hope it is of use to you into making your decision on whether it’s worth the trouble.
Until next time!