What is a VPN & How It Works

While the internet plays a huge role in our daily lives, it is still, oftentimes, dangerous for us when it comes to data. Therefore, safety is a must on the internet. Many services have been updated to be conducted online. You are sharing sensitive information on the internet on a daily basis. There are hackers […]

What is a VPN & How It Works

While the internet plays a huge role in our daily lives, it is still, oftentimes, dangerous for us when it comes to data. Therefore, safety is a must on the internet. Many services have been updated to be conducted online. You are sharing sensitive information on the internet on a daily basis. There are hackers and predators out there that you must keep an eye out for. You might be surprised to learn how easy and affordable it is to stay safe online using a VPN.

To understand how a VPN works, you must first understand what exactly a VPN does.

The Core Two Functions of a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is a 2-in-1 kind of a deal. So if you need it for one purpose, you get the other service along with it. Read on to understand what these two key functions are and how they can get you a better online experience altogether.

Online Protection

Anti-virus software is getting more advanced day by day. So there’s no reason to be concerned if you have a great one installed on your device, right? Wrong! There’s a big difference between working on your device offline and online. The only way a virus could get into your system offline is if it was introduced to your system via disk or USB. That would immediately spur your anti-virus into action. It would alert you to the danger and go about fixing it. A virus is not the only danger on the World Wide Web. There are hackers just waiting for you to let your guard down. Once you’re linked to a public Wi-Fi, any other user using the same Wi-Fi could creep into your system. Imagine compromising your social media accounts, bank accounts and the leakage of your personal information.

Another increasingly frustrating issue is the act of spying on users by government agencies. The law may respect user privacy but the government can always find loopholes to work around it. There are plenty of organizations lurking around keeping an eye on your private data. They use this information to generate user profiles. Marketing researchers work similarly though they may have fewer resources than the government. Your user profile comes in handy when they wish to push selected products/ services to you. Netizens are already furious over how much control such organizations have over their private data. They don’t find being stalked or constant bombardment with advertisements desirable at all.

There was a major uproar over Facebook of collecting data from its users unethically and using it to generate profit. Facebook is just one app. Imagine being that exposed every single second that you are online. Facebook is not even listed as a criminal organization. Are you aware of the organized cybercrime that profits off your ignorance? It’s a pretty scary thought and the threat is real

So what can possibly be done to avoid this unjustified surveillance?

Read Guide: How to Pick a VPN Service

While it’s best to carry around your own internet device, there are times when using a public Wi-Fi or connecting to a network is unavoidable. This is where a VPN swoops in to save the day! Normally, your incoming and outgoing data flow around freely letting anyone with the proper software to snoop on you. How a VPN works is that it creates an encrypted channel exclusively for your data. Whenever you send or receive data while your VPN is turned on, it safely passes through this channel. This way, no other user can break into your system. The number of devices you may secure with one VPN account varies from company to company. You may link multiple devices to your VPN account at home or safeguard your handheld device on the go while on a public network/ Wi-Fi.

You might be worrying over reliable VPNs being the most expensive. Here’s a quick tip: choose a longer subscription so that the money charged each month is reduced by a considerable percentage. Another perk of picking long-term commitments is that you are often allowed to simultaneously connect to more devices.  Once you realize how VPN services work to provide desirable quality at low rates while maintaining a healthy profit, you understand how to take advantage of it.

Access Granted

There are often restrictions for online content depending on where you live. This may be due to copyright laws differing in various locations or government bans. You might be aware that some countries have a strong ban on mainstream adult content. Other governments have more pressing reasons that revolve around politics. There are often people in the opposition who publish content which may be offensive to the ruling party. Other times, it’s not an internal situation but a government trying to limit the citizen’s access to foreign content.

There are several international news websites which are banned in China, for instance. Asian dramas are gaining popularity among the masses these days, but many popular Korean drama websites don’t allow viewing outside South Korea. Of course, you must know how notorious the Japanese music industry is when it comes to fiercely defending their copyrights. You can rarely find any Japanese albums on YouTube or other free streaming platforms. There are short versions of their official music videos and that’s it. They definitely deserve to keep the profits they’ve earned from their investments to protect their country’s economy but the ban is too harsh on international fans.

A reliable VPN is the best solution for such issues so let’s figure out how a VPN works to fool the system.

How a VPN works to grant access to restricted content also functions to prevent you from being tracked via your IP address. Therefore, this is directly linked to the section about online protection and how VPNs afford double benefit. Let’s identify your IP address first. You are connected to the World Wide Web through your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They have assigned a server to you. The IP address of that server is your real IP address. It shows up whenever you visit a website. It’s available to anyone on the other end. It allows you to be tracked for government monitoring or marketing purposes.

What’s the solution? Hide your real IP address! This is precisely how a VPN works. When you switch on your VPN, you choose a server based on the location you wish to display to websites. For example, if you want to watch a Korean drama, a South Korean IP address should be visible; otherwise, the website would not allow you to view the video. In this case, you should select South Korea as your preferred location among the VPN options. Your VPN provider will assign you a server in South Korea. From the viewpoint of that drama website, your IP address will show that you are currently logged in from South Korea. So, the website will not stop you from watching that drama. What’s happened is that the IP address of that South Korean server now appears as your IP address anywhere unless you change your VPN options. This conceals your real IP address and true location perfectly.

Don’t worry if you cannot find a server that works with your specific streaming app or website. Most good VPN providers offer 24/7 live chat with trained professionals. They can easily find the most suitable server for you and provide advice on the ideal VPN protocol for your purpose. The server should be close to you for high-speed streaming and it would be great if your VPN provider owns a large number of servers. This distributes the load between servers enabling lightning speed for Torrenting, gaming, and streaming.

Now that you’ve learned what a VPN is and how it works, you should be aware of your options. There are several great VPN providers but beware that many websites are beginning to impose bans on popular VPN companies. You need to do a bit of research depending on why you require a VPN. Check out popular VPNs that are famous for catering particularly to your kind of users. There are several VPNs known for gaming, streaming and Torrenting Location is extremely important if you are looking forward to unlocking restricted websites/ applications. Check if the benefits they offer match your needs and whether the price is right. There’s no chance that you won’t find the perfect VPN with the variety available these days.

Image Credits: wpbeginner.com

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