What is a VPN?

VPN stands for “virtual private network”. There are various types of VPNs and they serve different functions. But one thing they all have in common is this; it creates a secure, encrypted connection (or “tunnel”) to a server, usually across the internet. The information that is sent across that connection is safe from hackers and other ill-willed individuals trying to snoop on your network activities.

For this article, we’ll be discussing VPNs that you may have already heard about and how they help protect your privacy. In a future article, we will discuss how VPNs can be used to secure your business.

Benefits of a VPN

As already mentioned, a VPN secures all data that travels across it by encrypting it. This prevents onlookers, such as hackers, from seeing the information that you transmit. VPN services such as NordVPN, Hotspot Shield, Tunnelbear, and other popular services have some key benefits.

  1. Increased Privacy – VPNs help increase your privacy a great deal because websites cannot tell the source of your connection. When you visit a site through a VPN, it appears as if you are connecting from the VPN server, instead of the comfort of your home in Arizona. (or wherever else you may be)
  2. Increased Online Freedom – Many websites, such as Netflix and news sites, only allow access to content based on your location. For instance, some international films on Netflix can only be viewed if you are connecting from a certain country. VPN services usually allow you to choose a country to connect to, which allows you to bypass some of these filters.

A Word of Caution

In Spiderman: Far from Home, Mary Jane tells Peter Parker he should download a VPN app “so that the government can’t track you while we’re abroad.” While VPNs do help with privacy and data security, you should still be cautious about the information you give out when online. Any information you transmit when using a VPN is now out of your hands and no longer protected by the VPN.

Do I need to use a VPN?

Consumer VPNs, like we discussed in this article, definitely have their benefits. There are many instances that we recommend one for your business. But for personal use, it’s a personal choice. We would be happy to answer any questions you have!

Have questions about this or any other technology? TekStop is happy to answer your questions and provide tech support. Give us a call at (928) 583-4454 or contact us here.