What is a VPN? How does it work? Which is the best free or paid VPN services for Microsoft Windows 10?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a server or a network of servers that allow us to connect and access the Internet there. All data that transmits between your side and those servers is securely encrypted and unbreakable. You can use VPNs for many devices, including your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Here are some major benefits of using VPNs:
- Helps to hide all activities you do on the Internet from spying eyes.
- Bypass censorship in your school, at your work, or by your ISP or government.
- Change your IP address to another country to access geo-restricted services that don’t accept your real IP.
- Encrypt all your sensitive data to protect it from cyber criminals when using public networks.
- Helps you to download files through P2P protocol more securely.
Note: Some new users may think VPNs can replace an ISP to provide Internet access. That isn’t true! It is just like having two roads to go to the same point: public and private roads. When you go on the public road, many people can see you and what you are doing. Nevertheless, when you go on the private road, no one is there to watch you. Therefore, an Internet connection is required to use VPNs, VPNs can’t replace it.
How Does VPN Work?
Typically, when you access the Internet, your computer will connect to your ISP through your modem or router. From there, you will be able to connect to any websites or other resources on the Internet that you want. In this way, all your traffic will pass through servers of your ISP. Therefore, they will know your activities and know what you are doing on the Internet. This is the way government agencies monitor criminals over the Internet.
But when you connect to the Internet through VPN, all traffic will be redirected to a private road. It is called a VPN tunnel, and all data traveling through this route will be fully encrypted. That said, there is no one that can view your activities or data, except you and the VPN servers.
Here are a few things you need to know about VPNs before using them:
1. Hide All Your Activities
As I mentioned above, your ISP, government agencies or hackers can’t see your data or any of your activities on the Internet. All those details are routed via VPN servers. Your ISP or anyone who is monitoring you can only see that you are connected to a VPN server.
2. Your IP Address Will Be Changed
When use VPNs, your IP address will be the IP address of the VPN server you are connected to. It isn’t the one that your ISP provided assigned to you. Most of the VPN services have multiple servers in different countries, which allow users to choose where they want to connect.
Also Read: How To Set Up A VPN Connection In Windows 10
That said, your real IP address is hidden and no one can know it unless the VPN provider gives it to someone who requested it, such as government agencies.
3. The Safest Method To Access Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
The typical way that hackers often use to exploit users’ information is to intercept your data and view it. Even worse, they can create a fake Wi-Fi hotspot and trick you to connect. From this Wi-Fi hotspot, hackers can easily monitor and see your data with the right tools.
However, when you access the Internet via a public network with a VPN, all data will be encrypted, and hackers can’t view it. When they intercept your data, they can only see the encrypted version. There is no way to decrypt it.
So basically, you are totally safe!
4. VPN Providers Can Know What You Are Doing
Technically, you shift your trust from your ISP to your VPN provider. So instead of allowing your ISP to monitor your activities, you will allow your VPN provider to do so.
However, you don’t need to worry much about this problem. Nowadays, most of the VPN providers use various technical measures to avoid storing details of users, even free VPN services. They want to build the trust of users by mitigating this issue and know as little as they can about you and your activities.
So, when choosing a VPN service, make sure you read their terms and policy page first.
5. Your Internet Will Slow Down
When connecting to a VPN server, your Internet speed will slow down, not fast like it regularly is. The reason is that it takes times to encrypt and decrypt. Although the time it takes is relatively minor, you can easily feel your Internet speed is slower than when you don’t use a VPN.
Besides, if you connect to a VPN server that is far from you, then it will take more time to transmit. So, if you don’t care much about the location of VPNs, then you should choose the server that’s nearest to you. The shorter distance your data has to travel, the less time it takes.
A VPN is quite a versatile tool to help to protect your data and decrease your chances of being hacked. It also assists in protecting your online privacy and prevents government agencies from monitoring everything you do on the Internet.
The primary purpose of this article is to help you know more about VPNs and its benefits. If you have any questions regarding VPNs, feel free to leave your comment below!