A VPN service is all about the security and protection of your other entities such as privacy. Other accrued functionalities also ensure that your online freedom is intact, you are not vulnerable to cyber threats, and you also gain access to global content.
- Secure connection when surfing the internet
- Access restricted or blocked websites and apps
- Fast speeds are perfect for streaming services
- Secure & private web browsing
What is a VPN?
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a service that uses tunneling to ensure that you have a secure connection when surfing the internet. In a nutshell, a VPN service provides protection and security. These functionalities are realized through various mechanisms such as encryption and other features put in place by the VPN service.
By providing security, a VPN ensures that you don’t become a victim of internet vulnerabilities. To an extent, a VPN’s security gives rise to privacy protection. This ensures your information and data are safe from prying eyes.
How does a VPN work?
Security and privacy are the primary purposes of a VPN. To achieve these core functionalities, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, both incoming and outgoing via a tunnel. The encrypted traffic passes through a specified server – provided by the VPN provider – which connects your device to the outside world (the internet). To truly know how a VPN works, below are some factors and entities to look at:
- Encryption – encryption is one of the important factors and components that a VPN uses to ensure security. Encryption is the use of algorithms that convert your VPN traffic to unreadable data. Encryption can be likened to a lock and a key. The stronger the encryption, the more secure a VPN is.
- Protocols – protocols are standards that determine and govern how communication is done on a network/channel. In a VPN, they also establish how fast and secure the communication channel will be. Different VPN providers offer different protocols depending on the intended functionality. These protocols can be changed manually.
- Logging policies and jurisdiction – these are entities that broadly affect the VPN service provider and the user. They also determine the security and privacy of your data while using a VPN service.
Logging policies state what type of data a VPN provider collects. Some data can implicate a VPN user hence violate their privacy. Jurisdiction concerns the data retention laws that are put in place in the state/country where a VPN service is located.
Who needs a VPN and why?
Regarding the current state of the internet, a VPN is a necessity that anyone who accesses the internet should have. Here is why:
- Security and Privacy: When surfing the Internet, you might be under constant surveillance by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government agencies and even cybercriminals. Surveillance violates your privacy while cybercriminals may violate the integrity of your data and make you vulnerable to internet attacks.
- Anonymity: Through security and privacy, a VPN can provide an acceptable level of anonymity. When you are anonymous, you don’t have to worry about being tracked or monitored.
- Access to content: Apart from security, another accrued function you get when using a VPN is gaining access to restricted online content. By using geo-restrictions, content providers may not deliver specific content to users of certain countries.
Benefits of using a VPN
Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have gained popularity in recent years due to a number of benefits they provide. The main benefits include:
- Security – VPNs use secure tunnels which are encrypted with military-grade encryption such as the AES with 256-bit keys. They also use protocols that enhance security and reliability, and Your internet traffic is channeled through secure tunnels hence it’s safe from prying eyes.
- Privacy – By keeping your traffic safe from prying eyes, a VPN helps you achieve some digital privacy. Besides encryption, VPNs mask your IP address and replace it with theirs. Hence anybody tracking you will end up at the VPN server.
- Access to global content – Some global content is not accessible in some countries due to geo-restrictions. By using a new IP address from the VPN, you can gain access to global and censored content without a fuss.
- Torrent Anonymously – P2P services contain a lot of content that is shared for free. However, this content may be copyrighted which may lead to court penalties and fines. VPNs offer anonymous P2P servers to help you get the content easily.
- Streaming– Besides gaining access to restricted global content, VPNs are also used to access Streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu and so on. Some VPNs offer high-speed servers that ensure you gain access to streaming services without buffering.
Apart from the above benefits, a VPN can also help you access discounts such as on Flight tickets when booking from a different place.
Best VPN for Windows
We have reviewed and analyzed the top VPN providers to find out which one is the best. Here are the findings:
NordVPN – The best online VPN service for speed and security
Fast speeds, strong privacy and security features including malware protection. 24/7 Live Chat support. * Fast access to Netflix * 30-day money-back.
NordVPN believes in its tagline, Internet Without Borders and that’s why it takes your online security and privacy seriously. It has over 5610 ultra-fast servers located in 60 countries. Its VPN apps are available for the following platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome browser and networking devices such as routers. It offers a simultaneous connection of up to 6 devices. Apart from privacy and security, it’s suitable for streaming services such as Netflix.
NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when on public Wi-Fi. Securely access personal information or work files, encrypt your internet connection, and keep your browsing history and online identity private
- High-speed performance servers
- Strict no log policy
- Highest level of security
- Wide selection of servers
- Shorter free trial period
ExpressVPN – High-Speed, Secure & Anonymous VPN Service
ExpressVPN seeks to amplify the entire internet by committing to protect your security and privacy. It has ultra-fast servers in 148 plus VPN server locations.
ExpressVPN seeks to amplify the entire internet by committing to protect your security and privacy. It has ultra-fast servers in 148 plus VPN server locations in 94 countries worldwide. Its VPN apps are compatible with most computing platforms, accessories, networking devices and browsers. It offers 3 simultaneous connections with unlimited bandwidth and server switches. Besides having the best-in-class security and encryption, it also has 24/7 Live Chat customer support.
ExpressVPN Is Best For: Users seeking a full-featured VPN offering anonymity and strong privacy protection. Users wanting a fast VPN for streaming and torrenting.
- Ultrafast server selections
- No logging policy
- Best in class security
- Unlimited bandwidth with server switches
- No free trial
- Only 3 simultaneous connections
- expensive compared to other VPN service providers
Atlas VPN- The Best VPN Provider for a Private Internet
Atlas VPN’s mission is to have a free and open internet, and with its own tech, it delivers what it says. It has 73 server locations with 750 plus servers.
Atlas VPN mission is to have a free and open internet, and with its own tech, it delivers what it says. It has 73 server locations with 700 plus servers in 64 countries worldwide. These servers offer unlimited server switching, bandwidth, and speed. It supports 3 to 5 simultaneous connections depending on the plan. Its VPN apps are compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Smart TVs and networking devices such as Routers, QNAP and Anonabox. Atlas VPN is suitable for security, privacy, unblocking content, and streaming
Atlas VPN is the best VPN for hiding your IP address for streaming, privacy, and more! It also doesn’t keep any records – so there’s nothing to leak.
- Zero restrictions, no download caps
- Unlimited server switching
- Fast VPN without 3rd parties
- VPN apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac
- Not suitable for torrenting
Atlas VPN for 85% off 2-year VPN plan for USD 1.82/mo + 3 months extra
Surfshark VPN- Your Ultimate Online Guardian
Surfshark VPN enables you to enjoy and have a smooth online experience without fear of being tracked, by hackers and mass surveillance. It has over 3200 servers.
Surfshark VPN enables you to enjoy and have a smooth online experience without fear of being tracked, hackers and mass surveillance. It has over 3200+ servers located in 144 countries worldwide. It offers a simultaneous connection of up to 7 devices with unlimited bandwidth and traffic. It uses the highest encryption available, and it also offers friendly support via a live chat and email. The Surfshark VPN apps are compatible with most computing platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Routers.
Surfshark VPN encrypts your online traffic and hides your real IP address, whether you’re streaming, torrenting, gaming, shopping, banking, or simply browsing.
- Strict no logging policy
- Torrenting anonymously
- Simultaneous connections of up to 7 devices
- Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
- Limited hours of live chat
Surfshark VPN limited time offer 85% off + 2/mo free (30 day money back gurantee)
IPVanish – Online Privacy Made Easy – The Fastest VPN
IPVanish VPN delivers speed, and robust security mechanisms and unlocks your online freedom. Due to this, it has gained popularity and been ranked among reputable.
IPVanish delivers speed, and robust security mechanisms and unlocks your online freedom. Due to this, it has gained popularity and been ranked among reputable VPNs. It has over 1,000 VPN servers in 60-plus countries worldwide. These servers offer unlimited bandwidth and unlimited server switching. It’s also one of the few VPNs that offer 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices via a single account. It’s compatible with major computing and mobile platforms such as Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chromebook, Amazon TV and networking devices such as routers.
IPVanish is a safe VPN and one of the main reasons for that is its world-class security features include military-grade encryption, a kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, split tunneling, and advanced protocols
- User-friendly apps
- 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices
- Anonymous torrenting
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- It doesn’t unblock Netflix US
Free vs Paid VPN
Nothing sounds great as free! Free gas, free food, free delivery services, all those free stuff are good and enticing. But it’s a different case in the IT world, especially when it matters to the internet and cyber security. VPNs are no exceptions as they are drivers and sometimes handlers of your security and privacy. VPN providers offer VPN services in two bundles, premium or free and it’s literally you get what you pay for. The dilemma sets in when you have to choose between a free and paid VPN service. Below are the cons and pros of both.
Depending on what you do on the internet while using a VPN, the connection speed of a VPN matters a lot. Free VPNs usually offer a bandwidth cap and have limited servers. This means that everyone using that VPN might be connected to the same server hence causing congestion and server overload. This leads to poor internet speed. Paid VPNs usually have a lot of servers to choose from and also offer unlimited bandwidth. This is why premium VPNs have blazing high speeds.
Security and Protocols
These are the essential building blocks of a VPN, protocols ensure security and how securely communication is done. Usually, free VPNs use the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) which offers speed but doesn’t care about strong encryptions. With this foundation, anyone can violate your security and privacy with free VPNs. Paid VPNs offer a ton of protocols with military-grade encryption to ensure your security and privacy are intact. Some of the protocols include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and others.
Besides security, logging policies decide whether your privacy will be intact or not. Almost all Free VPN services state clearly that they track, monitor and record your activities when using their VPNs. This information might be sold to third parties, cybercriminals can tap into it, and it can be used to implicate you in a court of law. On the other hand, Paid VPNs have a strict no logging policy. This means they know nothing about you, nothing on what you do with their VPN service, and definitely they don’t keep any information about you. With paid VPNs, you rest assured your privacy is intact.
Quality of service (QoS)
This is where the phrase ‘what you pay for is what you get’ matters a lot. In general, free VPN services offer poor services with the exception of a few as compared to reputable paid VPNs. Besides security and privacy, QoS in VPNs can be determined in terms of customer support, number of servers and bandwidth and availability. In these aspects, paid VPNs have higher ratings and also positive reviews. However, the same can’t be said for free VPNs (or proxy servers) as they have lower ratings.
This is the best aspect of free VPNs as you don’t have to pay anything. But in the long run, you might find is not worth it. This is because almost all free VPNs have ads, and data mining capabilities and also lack some features which are reserved for premium users.
With all the above, now you know what VPN service is best for you!
How do you connect to a VPN?
Virtual Private Networks help you regain access to free internet and digital privacy when you are online. Nowadays, many people have shifted to commercial or standalone VPNs as they are easy to setup and configure, regardless of whether you are on Mac, PC or using Android or iPhone. They even provide added functionalities such as gaining access to censored content, streaming services not available in one’s geographical location and even torrenting anonymously. Besides the functionalities, some of the standalone VPNs are worth your money and offer more security.
Connecting to a VPN is a simple procedure, but first, you must have all the requirements. Most commercial VPN providers require you to create an account first and then pay for the services except for free VPNs. After your account is set up, the next step is to download a suitable client/app for your computing device. You will then need to install the client/app and then launch it.
- After launching the app here’s what you are required to do:
- Enter your account details (username and Password) if the client/app asks for it.
- Most VPNs especially paid ones won’t do anything until you enter your account details.
- The next screen that appears will probably have a quick connect button, a list of VPN servers or a menu button for configurations.
- All you have to do now to be connected is tap the quick connect button or check for other suitable servers.
The above is all you need when connecting to a commercial VPN.
Are VPNs legal to use?
- The answer is yes, it is legal to use VPN, but if your state or country has banned it, then it will be risky to use it in your area.
Does a VPN slow down the internet?
- Yes using VPN you may experience slow internet speed because its the nature of how VPNs work, and there’s really no way around it
Is using a VPN safe for online banking?
- Yes it is safe to use a VPN while doing your online banking but you should also take other precautions
Should you always use a VPN?
- The answer is yes, It’s recommended to keep VPN connected any time your device is connected to the internet even if you are not actively using it.
How to Choose the Right VPN?
- Make Sure Your VPN Has Strong Security and Privacy Features, is easy to set up, won’t impact your internet speed, and most importantly price.