The term “virtual private network” (vpn) may sound intimidating, but these devices are easier to use than you think. Whether you’re an individual or a large business, there are many benefits to using a VPN. traveling and using public wi-fi, transmitting confidential information or simply enjoying entertainment options on netflix are activities that can be done more safely by using a vpn.
In this guide, you’ll learn what a VPN is, what it does, and some of the most common uses of a VPN in 2022. We’ll cover both personal and business uses, so you can learn the best way to use a VPN at work or at home. home.
what is a vpn?
vpn software protects your information by masking the ip address of your device. The software encrypts your data and routes it through secure networks to servers in distant states or other countries. A VPN hides your online identity, allowing you to surf the Internet anonymously.
what do vpns do?
vpn stands for virtual private network. In basic terms, a VPN provides an encrypted server and hides your IP address from corporations, government agencies, and potential hackers. A VPN protects your identity even if you’re using a shared or public Wi-Fi network, and your data stays private from prying eyes on the internet.
a vpn bypasses your personal isp, rather than forwarding your internet connection to a hosted server. With servers located around the world, users have the ability to “relocate” and access the Internet from almost anywhere. encryption adds an extra layer of security, especially for businesses that frequently use remote access. it can also be a useful tool for travel, gaming, and streaming.
why do you need a vpn?
Now that you know what a VPN is, here’s a closer look at why you might need a VPN:
1. public wifi security
Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but at the expense of security. When you answer emails at a local coffee shop or absentmindedly browse social media at the airport, someone may be tracking your online activity.
Using a vpn protects your data while you’re on other networks, hiding your browsing history, banking information, account passwords, and more from malicious strangers on the internet.
2. data privacy of your internet service provider
While connected to your home Wi-Fi network, you are less likely to be attacked by strangers than on a public connection. however, your data is still vulnerable.
Your isp or internet service provider (comcast, spectrum, verizon, or another company you pay for wi-fi each month) can access all of your internet data. your isp can see when, where and how you browse.
This data can be collected and sold to advertisers, even if you’re using the “private” browsing feature, and can be dangerous in the wrong hands in the event of a data breach. a vpn can help hide your ip address from your own isp.
3. data privacy of the applications and services you use
Your ISP isn’t the only potential liability you’ve brought into your own home. Unfortunately, many of our favorite internet applications and services, especially Facebook, have come under fire for the way they have used their users’ data.
a vpn will prevent apps and websites from attributing their behavior to your computer’s ip address. You can also limit the collection of your location and browser history.
4. your government data privacy
Although many Internet service providers, applications and Internet data centers suggest that they do not sell your browsing data to governments, the information reaches your hands, even in the us. uu.
since 2013, when edward snowden first revealed that verizon had been selling users’ internet and phone data to the nsa, americans have become more aware of the different ways the government monitors and collects their data. data. after the snow leaks and subsequent outrage, several laws were enacted to curb government surveillance.
However, as recently as January of this year, the defense intelligence agency flouted a law that required government agencies to issue court orders before forcing phone companies to obtain your user data by paying third-party data brokers for that same data, according to the new york times.
if you have concerns about government overreach, a vpn is a good investment to protect your data.
5. access to any content anywhere
Although Hulu may disapprove of using a VPN to stream the latest episode of Criminal Minds in a country where the content is not offered, this use of a VPN is not illegal (in the US and most other countries). countries), and help provides a useful solution to content restrictions.
vpns spoof your location, making it look like you’re browsing from somewhere else. that means you can fix their criminal minds even if it’s not available locally.
6. security when working remotely
one of the benefits of a vpn is its data encryption features. Encryption, or putting data in an encrypted format to hide its meaning, allows you to keep sensitive information safe.
If you are an individual considering investing in a vpn for your business, one benefit is that workers can connect to your office network and view sensitive materials on their own devices while away from the office. With remote work looking like a possibility even after the pandemic is over, a VPN is a worthwhile investment to keep sensitive material safe off-site.
8. adaptable to numerous smart devices
While many of us first tried a vpn on a company-issued laptop, many vpn services also protect other smart devices, such as phones, tablets, and desktops. each vpn company may offer slightly different protection plans and have different capabilities to protect different devices, but many providers offer plans that help keep you secure across multiple devices.
7. smart saving
If you’re willing to do a little research, a VPN can help you save money through its location spoofing capabilities. Many types of companies, such as subscription services and airlines, offer the same services or products at different prices. If you change the appearance of your location to a place where services are offered cheaper, you can end up with big savings.
what is a vpn used for?
vpns are used in many different ways. let’s take a look at how many companies, gamers and streamers use vpn:
vpn uses for companies
These are some of the most common things VPNs are used for in a business environment:
- work from home with no worries. It seems that returning to the office may not happen for many people, at least not in the short term. Using a VPN allows everyone who works remotely to log in securely to the shared company network, while also providing data protection for projects and files.
- keep your shared network secure. using a vpn on your shared network will help ensure business communications remain secure. it will also make your business less susceptible to cyberattacks.
- control access. vpns also offer access control options, so not all employees can access sensitive information. users will need to log in and verify that they have authorization before access is granted.
- Browse securely on any device. Securely connect to your company’s cloud, regardless of the device you use. Since a vpn is encrypted and hosted remotely, you can log in from anywhere without the risk of a security breach.
- bypass geo-blocking. When traveling for business, you may encounter locations that block or censor parts of the internet. This can potentially be a big hurdle, especially if you can’t access work-related websites. Using a vpn with your home location will help bypass any blocked content.
- protect financial transactions. It is essential to know that each transaction is protected. A VPN anonymizes your outgoing traffic and encrypts your connection, ensuring unauthorized tracking of your business transactions or transfers.
- Connect to public Wi-Fi networks securely. Almost everyone connects to the free Wi-Fi network at the airport during a layover or delay, but doing so exposes you to potential theft. using a vpn before opening that email or checking an account balance will help keep your data safe.
- bypass social media blocks. some parts of the world have blocked social media channels like facebook. If you’re traveling to China or Iran and can’t survive without your network, a VPN can help you get around the ban.
- maintain access to the account. Banks are on high alert for fraudulent activity, and logging into your account from a foreign country can raise a red flag. using a vpn that shows you’re still at your usual address will help avoid possible account lockouts due to suspicious activity.
- access a larger library of games. because using a vpn means your internet connection will be redirected, you have more options when it comes to access to games, especially when it comes to cloud gaming services like stadiums . Depending on the provider, certain VPNs can help you access games available outside of your region. Also, some countries ban games due to graphic content. With a VPN, you can get around those restrictions by connecting through a server in a different country.
- play in public with no worries. It’s great to take advantage of free public Wi-Fi when you’re ready to play, but using an unsecured network comes with risks. keep your gaming devices safe by using a vpn.
- protect yourself from trolls. The stakes can be high in multiplayer games and sometimes people overreact. having a vpn protects your identity and ip address, so if you inadvertently disturb someone, they won’t be able to track your location.
- bypass isp slowdowns. Some internet service providers knowingly slow down their network for one reason or another. With a vpn, you can avoid unnecessary lag from isp.
- watch your favorite foreign movies. Some paid subscription streaming services implement “geo-blocking” technology. this means that in some geographic locations you will have restricted access to certain content. Using a VPN avoids this problem and allows you to stream almost anything you want to watch, no matter where you are.
- improve buffering problems. Because streaming services are so popular, it’s not unusual for bandwidth to overload and cause buffering issues. a vpn can help prevent this, ensuring a smoother viewing experience.
vpn uses for gaming
Outside the business world, vpns are also popular with gamers. These are some of the most common uses of vpn for games:
vpn uses for streaming
You can also use a vpn when streaming your favorite movies or tv shows:
While a vpn is a great tool to help separate your location (and, in many ways, you) from your data, it doesn’t obscure everything about you. If you take a Facebook quiz or like a post on Instagram, the app you’re using while connected to the VPN can still use your behavior to personalize ads and content in the app. they may not know where you’re browsing from, but they’ll still know what you’re doing in their apps.
Similarly, if cookies are enabled on your computer, companies can track you while you’re on their site and afterwards. your entire data is not obscured just with a vpn. combining the protection of a vpn with tor, an open source tool that allows you to browse the web anonymously, and other security measures are necessary for more complete security.
vpns are not perfect tools. Like any computer program, they are susceptible to malware and online attacks. if you are infected, the security benefits of a vpn are negated.
The probability of attacks and security breaches increases with the use of a free vpn service. To recoup their business costs, “free” VPN services may sell user data or serve ads that might be infected with malware. if your goal is to increase the privacy of your data, then investing in a paid vpn is your best option.
global legality concerns
Beyond security issues, there are legality issues. If you are based in or visit a wide list of countries, including Russia and China, VPNs are either banned or highly regulated.
It is important to know the laws of your country and any country you are visiting before using a vpn, as well as to understand if your vpn use is being monitored by a government, thereby negating its privacy benefits.