VPN has become a common term in the online space, but some people still find it hard to understand why VPN is so important, and what a VPN is used for. Not only for Internet users but also for those who travel frequently and use public WiFi networks, VPN is essential. If you have never used one and are wondering why you need a VPN or the different uses of a VPN, this article is a must-read for you. It talks about what a VPN is, how it works, and what it is used for.
What is VPN and How it Work?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a connection that ensures a secure connection when you browse the Internet. When you use the Internet, it records who is accessing what. Your digital footprints are tracked through your IP address and your browsing history can be accessed. You often need to access a website that is blocked in your region, or you need to access a confidential file urgently while on the move, etc., anyone can hack your data.
A VPN encrypts your IP address and uses a proxy IP address to browse. A VPN host runs this IP address. Thus, your Internet service provider cannot trace your moves and cannot block any websites it doesn’t know you visit. It also saves you from snooping by third parties.
Basically, it is a secure connection that hides your IP address, uses another one, and also encrypts your browser history. It does not give a thought to what you access and what sites you visit and thus, lets you roam in the digital space anonymously.
What Is VPN Used For?
The different uses of a VPN are discussed below.
No ISP Tracking
Your Internet service provider can see what you are doing. It is a sheer breach of privacy but you can’t change it. They track your history to send you relevant advertisements, see if you are doing anything fishy, or access anything which you shouldn’t, so they can block those sites for you.
Many times, you genuinely need to get access to a region-specific website. In such a scenario, you can do so with the help of a VPN. A VPN uses a masked IP and a dedicated server that your ISP cannot track. It’s a great relief as ISPs sell your data for advertisement purposes. A VPN saves you from it.
Safety While Using Public Connections
First, forbid yourself from using public WiFi. Because a password does not protect it, and even if it is, it is easy for a hacker to breach the wireless connections. You often access public WiFi in schools, colleges, stations, hotels, airports, etc. Accessing your mail, entering passwords, accessing net banking, or any confidential information using public WiFi networks exposes you to unnecessary risk.
When using a VPN, you browse anonymously. No hacker can breach it and steal your personal and important information.
Shopping Online from Distant Locations
Online retail sites often block you as you are not a local. But if you need a product, you can use a VPN and choose a local server to shop like a local. They will allow you, without causing any problem, and will deliver it.
Allows Remote Working
VPN encrypts traffic as well. In larger organizations, schools, and colleges, keeping the large database safe is a huge responsibility. Remotely working employees and students can access the confidential files on their systems in a remote place, which isn’t safe. So, by using a VPN in your workplace, you can keep confidential files safe from being seen outside the organization.
Helpful in Preventing Info Gathering
You must have noticed that if you search for an item on a retail website like eBay or Amazon, you are shown the same product on several other websites through ads. How? Because these websites gather your data and sell it to third parties, which track your IP address and send you notifications. To be anonymous on the Internet and avoid info gathering, use VPN. It will mask your IP and stop this stalking.
Streaming Blocked Content
Geo-restriction restricts the users outside their periphery to access any content on the website or streaming platforms. Say you can’t download the local content of the UK in India if it is geo-blocked. It can cause problems when traveling, or you have shifted to another place and want to complete your favorite series.
The solution is VPN. Good VPN service providers allow access to thousands of servers in diverse locations. Just choose a local server, and stream the desired content.
Help Getting Rid of Hackers
Your IP address is your digital address. If one has your IP address, they can target you easily, especially hackers. Usually, home network routers have a password, but your home network is not safe anymore if it is hacked.
If you use VPN, the hackers will see your proxy IP address assigned by the VPN host. Any malicious activities will be targeted to the proxy address, instead of your network, saving you from the unnecessary mess.
Using torrents is illegal. The bad reputation has been caused by the illegal downloading of copyrighted data. But there are several legal uses of torrents as well. Since it is illegal, you can land in big trouble if you visit the sites using your IP address. These sites record your IP address. Plus, if you download anything, torrent trackers come glued with it. These trackers can record your activities and sell them to third parties or can be used by authorities for copyright infringement.
Simply, using a torrent without a VPN isn’t advised. Use a VPN, and hide your digital identity. Then download any content, software, or movie you want.
Privacy from Government Authorities
Whether you believe it or not, the government keeps an eye on your online activities. ISPs are often blamed for sharing user data with government officials. The government argues “for security purposes”, it is also true that they don’t need to know if you search about a long-lost recipe or how to keep your dog clean.
If you don’t want your data to end up in a government body’s lap, use a VPN. One may argue that if I am not doing anything illegal, why should I hide my details? But the government does not need to know how often you open your net banking portal or where you buy your shirts from. Your privacy is in your hands.
To Make Your Calls Anonymous
With increased government intervention, even calls are being recorded in some countries. Some countries have strict norms about using certain applications, or others are very strict about which browsers to use. If you travel to such a country or need to make anonymous calls from such places, using a VPN is highly recommended.
Keep Home Network Safe
Home networks are often smaller, with only a handful of devices connected. A home PC works as a server, and you save all your important files on this PC. To access any information from such a PC, you must ensure a secure connection first, which is only possible through a VPN.
Privacy from Installed Applications
When you install an application, it asks for certain permissions and often accesses your gallery, contacts, and even your phone camera. These apps also collect data from your phone and sell it to potential users who can use it differently.
A VPN will restrict these apps from reading your browsing history or other files on your device.
VPN technology is not only meant to download blocked content or to bypass ISP to visit “a sort of” websites. It is a technology that enhances your protection. It does not guarantee complete obscurity, but its benefits outweigh its limitations. Go over the above-discussed uses and see if you find them useful. Then you can download the best VPN for your PC and browse anonymously.
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