You must hear about VPN or Virtual Private Network unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years. We are now living in an internet ecosystem where online privacy is one of the biggest issues of mankind next to environmental pollution.
On every alternate day, you can find news regarding data breaches and security threats. As time goes the number is increasing and reached to an alarming level.
You might be thinking what is the easiest thing we can do to protect our online privacy? Glad you asked this.
Well, there may be several things you can do and that’s a story for a different day. But I can say that VPN will do most of the things and maximize your online privacy and freedom.
This is why we are here. Further, we will discuss every aspect of a Virtual Private Network or VPN. You would realize that why should you use a premium VPN.
After reading the whole post, you would never ask anyone about VPN again. Take a cup of coffee and some snacks because we have to go a long way.
So let’s get started.
What is a VPN
VPN or Virtual Private Network is software that creates a secure, encrypted connection between an individual user and a network.
It connects your device to a virtual server present somewhere and allows users to browse the internet via that server. So you can access a website from a virtual location that couldn’t normally.
How a VPN works
VPN service providers have a portfolio of servers present in various countries. When you connect to a VPN server it creates a secure connection between your device (such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet) and the server.
For example, you are situated in India and connect to a USA server. When you browse the internet, it sends your traffic from the USA server. As the connection is encrypted governments and ISPs can’t track your browsing history.
You can take this secure encrypted connection like a tunnel. All your browsing data will travel through the virtual tunnel and almost impossible to track.
Without a VPN, everything you access online is traceable. It includes the device you are using, your physical location, and the device’s IP address. Every device that has an internet connection like your computer to your phone and tablet has a unique IP address.
By using a VPN, you can hide your real location and IP address as it is replaced by the VPN server. When you purchase a VPN plan your service provider allows you to access all their servers present world-wide. So you can access the internet from any location in few clicks.
Some Common VPN Terminologies
There are some commonly used VPN terminologies users often confused. Each word and phrase associated with VPN is crucial to understand VPNs as a whole. So let’s decode them first.
AES: Advanced Encryption Standard is a method of text encryption that encrypts highly classified and sensitive data developed and implemented globally.
Encryption: It an algorithm to encode data securely so that it appears like random, digitally illegible information. There are multiple types of encryption but AES-256 (often called “military-grade encryption”) is termed as the VPN industry standard.
Kill switch: It kills your internet connection suddenly if your VPN connection is dropped for any reason. This is a must-have feature that prevents your data from suddenly becoming visible to others.
Logs: There are three kinds of logs VPN providers might keep. Usage logs, connection logs, and no logs. VPN service providers that claim to provide no logs are the best.
Proxy: Proxy is used to access geo-blocked websites. This type of service can hide your real IP address by replacing their own.
Server count: The server count shows the number of servers maintained by the VPN provider. A huge number of locations shows the strength and provides maximum speed. It also gives you the independence to choose one from a huge list.
Tunneling: Tunneling, also called port forwarding, is the process to privately transmit data between networks.
Geoblocking: This is a mechanism used by companies to restrict users from a particular geographical location. It uses a visitor’s IP address or GPS coordinates to detect the user’s location.
Uses of VPN
As of now, we have a clear understanding of what is VPN and how it works. Now you might be thinking about how can I use a VPN in daily life.
It may depend on your regular uses but there are various reasons to use a VPN.
Surf internet anonymously without revealing your current location and IP address. Restricts your Internet Service Provider (ISP), governments, network admins, third parties from spying on your online activities.
Add an extra layer of security by encrypting your connection.
This protects your online privacy and makes life harder for hackers. While using public WiFi connections in hotels, cafés, and airports your data can easily be tracked by hackers. You can easily avoid this using a VPN.
Provide access to unblock websites that are restricted to certain geographic locations.
Best for torrenting, movie streaming
Penetrate the Internet censorship control such as the great firewall of China and Russia’s great firewall.
You can save thousands of dollars on flights and online purchases. Companies target your geographical location and you can easily bypass this using a VPN.
Surf anything on the internet with peace of mind.
Is VPNs Safe?
The short answer is yes. You can happily use it as long as you are using a high-quality VPN service.
Currently, there are over 300 VPNs available on the market. Moreover, there are hundreds of free VPNs available in Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Keep in mind that never use a free VPN as they have serious security and privacy issues. I have already discussed this in our free VPN services overview.
One interesting study found that 84% of free Android VPN apps leak user data. Most people already know that free VPNs should be avoided, but they are still using these dangerous apps and calling hazard themself.
There are many reasons to avoid free VPNs. This includes:
Contains malware and have third-party access to your data
Send you with targeted malicious ads and spam emails
Collect your data and sale to third parties or in the dark web
Steal your bank and credit card details
Lock or encrypt your devices and demands payout
These are not hypothetical reasons. Peoples have already faced this in the past.
Are VPNs legal?
In most of the countries, VPNs are legal to use. Most of the big businesses regularly use VPN for online privacy and security.
However, certain countries such as North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, China, Vietnam, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, and Myanmar have very strict Internet censorship laws. This means that using a VPN within that country can come with risks, although there is not a known legal ban.
Here is an image that shows the countries that have banned VPNs (Either placed technological barriers to block VPNs or passed laws prohibiting on the use)
The VPN restricted countries include Belarus, China, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, etc. If you do not belong to these countries then you can use a VPN without any hustle.
Please note that none of this is legal advice. Consult the lawyers of your country to verify what is/is not legal.
How to set up a VPN
There is no universal answer to this. It depends on the device you are using and the VPN service provider you have chosen.
The setup process in Windows OS is different from the Android smartphone you are using.
The VPN service provider we recommend is the world’s best and offers a simple installation guide. You can install it in any device in a few seconds and start using it. Please check our VPN recommendation section below to know more.
In general, the setup process includes:
- Choose a trustworthy or world’s best VPN service providers
- Purchase a plan that best fits you. After that download the VPN software for the device or OS, you are using.
- Once you successfully installed the VPN client on your device, log in using your credentials.
- Then connect to a VPN server and enjoy the freedom of using the internet.
You can find it the steps on the VPN service provider’s website.
How Does a VPN Ensure My Privacy?
As all your data travel through VPN servers, they need to have strong security measures and solid privacy policies. There are many VPNs that can’t be trusted and may leak your data.
But the VPNs we recommend is having following privacy-protecting features:
No-log policies: VPN service providers having No-logs policies won’t keep your browsing activity. So there is no change to disclose even if your government or surveillance agencies ask for this.
DNS leak protection: Every time you want to access a website through a browser, your computer sends a request to a DNS server allocated by the ISPs to learn the website’s IP address. This request would go to your ISP’s DNS servers, and then it would redirect your request to the destination address which reveals your browsing activity to your ISP.
When you’re connected to a VPN server, all your DNS requests are routed to your VPN’s DNS servers instead of ISP’s DNS servers. So, it provides DNS leak protection and prevents this from happening.
IPv6 leak protection: The IPv6 technology is already available but all the VPN providers using the IPv4. IPv6 provides the highest level of security and provides protection.
WebRTC leak protection: Modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, uses WebRTC technology to communicate with each other. So they need to know each other’s real IP address.
Third parties can spy on WebRTC to find out your real IP address and exact location. A trustworthy VPN (check our recommended VPNs below) will disable WebRTC and provides a shield for your IP address to prevent this from happening.
Are There Any Negatives to Using a VPN?
The benefits of using a VPN can greatly outweigh the negatives. Like everything in the world, VPN has also some drawbacks.
In some VPNs, you might get slow internet speed. As it takes a few seconds to encrypt and send your data through their server. But you can’t feel this in premium VPNs especially the VPNs we recommend.Some VPN providers can spy your data. You can use a reputed VPN with a strict no-logs policy and RAM-based servers to avoid this.
Some websites won’t allow VPN traffic. Netflix detects VPN users and restricts access. But our recommended VPNs can easily penetrate their system and allows you to access sites. Check the list of Best VPN for Netflix.
I have seen some VPNs are difficult to install. But premium VPNs have a simple user guide for this and one can easily install and configure in few seconds.
The above drawbacks can easily be overlooked as every VPNs won’t associate with this.
Which VPN is best for you?
Now you might aware of your privacy and want to have a VPN. But at this point, many people confused about which VPN is best for them.
Well, there is no single answer that can fit everyone. Everyone has a unique need. Some people want to browse the internet in a secure environment that’s why they need a VPN.
Others may want to access Netflix, tormenting, or watch sports through geo-blocked websites and they must need a VPN for this.
However, you can get more clarity about this by asking some questions to yourself.
Why you need a VPN? (For secure browsing or Netflix or torrenting etc.)
Does the VPN support those use cases? (Every VPN doesn’t support all)
Which device you will be using a VPN? Does the VPN service provider support this?
You can ask some more questions as well. Based on this, we have some recommendations that fit all uses.
What Do I Look For in a VPN?
It’s always important to choose a VPN that fulfills your needs and provides the best in class security. When you are in search of a VPN service, make sure that they offer the following things.
256-bit encryption: The 256-bit encryption is considered as the highest level encryption available. This is also termed as military-grade encryption. It will safeguard your personal information and browsing activity.
Speed matters: Speed is one of the most important factors you should consider before buying a VPN service. Although internet speed depends on various outside variables, VPN also associated with it.
An automatic kill switch: Kill switches cuts the VPN connection if it becomes unstable or disconnected. This mechanism disconnects you from the internet temporarily to avoid data leaks.
A strict no-logs policy: VPN providers having this policy won’t keep your browsing activity. So there is no change of data disclosure or hack. Many service providers make false claims. In real-world tests, we found NordVPN and ExpressVPN provides strict no-logs policy.
DNS and IPv6 leak protection
Ease of use: VPN service should provide a user-friendly interface to manage it. Take a look at their website where you may find screenshots of their apps so that you can understand it before use.
Huge server coverage: You need a VPN service that has servers across the globe. This helps you to access geo-blocked content from any country you like. For example, NordVPN claims to have over 5,800 servers in 59 countries.
Streaming and Peer-to-peer (P2P) optimized servers
Data caps: Some VPN providers puts limitations on the data uses. Let’s say you have a plan that provides a 10GB limit on a month. You can’t browse more than that in a month through a VPN even if you have unlimited internet plans provided by the ISP. So always choose a service that has no data caps.
Multiple simultaneous connections: You may need to access VPN service in various devices to protect all your devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets. So your VPN plan should provide multiple simultaneous logins.
Customer support: The premium VPNs we recommend offer 24/7 support via live chat on their websites. Your service provider should be ready to answer your queries all the time.
Pricing: The cost of VPN plans is also important to make your buying decision. To save some dollars, never think to go with free VPNs. You would suffer horribly. Instead of that choose a trustworthy VPN service with affordable pricing.
Our VPN Recommendations
I have been using various VPNs for years. Based on my experience I come up with 2 VPNs that would best for you.
I also considered the above most important factors before deciding the below VPN services.
NordVPN considered the world’s best VPN and won many awards.
It uses 256-bit military-grade encryption to keep your data private. This is the highest level of encryption most secure you can get.
It does not keep your browsing activity. So there is no risk of data exposure to anyone.
NordVPN has 5,800+ servers located in 59 countries. The SmartPlay DNS feature allows you to unblock international Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Kodi, Hulu, and 140 other geo-blocked streaming services.
NordVPN has hundreds of P2P-optimized high-end servers preconfigured with the best settings for torrenting. So you would get the highest speeds and unbeatable security at the time of torrenting.
They have an award-winning customer service team available 24/7 via live chat. You can ask them any service-related questions and get instant solutions.
With one NordVPN account, you can connect up to six of your devices simultaneously. This helps you to save a lot of money.
All the plans of NordVPN plans offer a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee. So you can use buy a plan and try it out, risk-free.
● 5,800+ servers in 59 countries
● Provides 256-bit military-grade encryption
● Ultra-fast connection
● Streaming and P2P-optimized servers
● DNS and IPv6 leak protection
● Strict no-logs policy
● Get a dedicated IP-address
● Block malware and ads automatically
● Works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Sky TV, Disney+, Fox, Hulu and much more
● Compatible with: macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It’s also compatible with routers
● No-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN is my second choice next to NordVPN. It is also known for the fast, streaming-optimized, and super-secure service.
They also use 256-bit encryption (military-grade encryption) to keep your data private. They claimed to provide strict no-logs policy, and won’t keep your data.
Their RAM-based servers are fine-tuned and consistently provide the best speed. It also has P2P-optimized servers for torrenting and anonymous browsing.
ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers located in 94 countries. It allows you to unblock international Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and many other geo-blocked streaming services.
ExpressVPN also gives you up to five simultaneous connections and 24/7 live chat support.
All the plans of ExpressVPN come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So you can try their service without any hustle.
● 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
● High-end security features
● Uses 256-bit encryption
● Strict no-logs policy
● P2P-optimized servers
● Up to five simultaneous connections
● Easy-to-use apps
● Works with: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Fox, Sky TV, etc
● Compatible with: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, Apple TV, Chrome
● 30-day money-back guarantee
The future of VPNs
Mass surveillance, corporate tracking, data breaches, ransomware attacks, and online censorship at its pick point.
Internet service providers are forced to block various websites – from adult content to torrenting sites.
By seeing the above things, the future of VPNs is looking very bright but not for the right reasons.
Prepare for the internet of tomorrow and protect your privacy today.
VPN becomes an essential internet security tool. You can bypass content-based throttling, government censorship, and blocking by schools or offices using this.
Using a VPN is not a choice anymore. It’s become a primary necessity. Don’t wait until it’s too late and someone hacked your data.
Protect yourself with a high-quality VPN, and live a worry-free life in the age of the internet. NordVPN is the world’s best VPN you can use.