How To Choose A VPN
When we review VPNs, there are a few key metrics we look for. For one, a VPN service should allow you to connect at least five devices simultaneously. The best services now easily surpass this requirement. Another is whether the VPN service allows BitTorrent or P2P traffic on its serversif you’re planning to use either of these technologies. Nearly VPNs allow them on at least some of their servers, but you don’t want to run afoul of the company to which you’re paying a monthly fee.
Speaking of fees, the average cost of a top-rated VPN service is $10.21 per month. A VPN service that is charging more per month isn’t necessarily ripping you off, but it should offer something significant, such as a great interface or lots of server locations to sweeten the deal.;
You can usually get a discount if you buy longer-term contracts. The average price of an annual VPN subscription, for example, is $71.58. However, we recommend avoiding long commitments until you’re certain that you’re happy with the service. Start instead with a short-term subscription or, better yet, a free subscription so you can test a VPN in your own home.
The most important thing about a VPN is trust. If the location, pricing, or terms of service don’t fill you with confidence, try another service. In all our VPN reviews, we make sure to report on all of these issues and highlight anything we think is confusing or problematic.
How Does VPN Work
Let’s start with the basic idea of internet communication. Suppose you’re at your desk and you want to access a website like ZDNet. To do this, your computer initiates a request by sending some packets. If you’re in an office, those packets often travel through switches and routers on your LAN before they are transferred to the public internet through a router.
Once on the public internet, those packets travel through a bunch of computers. A separate request is made to a series of name servers to translate the DNS name ZDNet.com to an IP address. That information is sent back to your browser, which then sends the request again through many computers on the public internet. Eventually, it reaches the ZDNet infrastructure, which also routes those packets, grabs a web page , and sends all that back to you.
Each internet request usually results in a whole series of communication events between multiple points. The way a VPN works is by encrypting those packets at the originating point, often hiding the data and the information about your originating IP address. The VPN software on your end then sends those packets to the VPN server at some destination point, decrypting that information.
One of the most important issues in understanding the limits of VPNs is understanding where the endpoint of the VPN server resides. We’ll talk about that next.
Use Your Mobile Network A Temporary Solution
If you dont have easy access to a public WiFi connection or prefer not to subject yourself to all of the risks it involves you can also temporarily change your IP address by using data on your mobile device instead of WiFi.
The main downside of this method is that it can get expensive, especially if you want to stream or download a lot of content. Again, its far from a permanent solution, and I only recommend it if you think your regular IP address has been compromised. If thats the case, using your mobile network is an easy way to immediately get a new IP address.
Don’t Miss: Setup VPN On Apple TV
How To Find Public Ip Address On Windows
Follow these steps to find your public IP address on Windows:
1. Click the search icon on the taskbar and enter cmd.
2. Type ipconfig/all in the Command Prompt window and hit Enter.
3. Check the Default Gateway section for your routers IP address.
4.Copy the routers IP address and paste it into your web browsers address bar. Now, enter the routers Username and Password when prompted and inspect the Config/Status page to find the public IP address.
How To Install A VPN Connection On Your Smartphone
As already mentioned, there are also VPN connections for Android smartphones and iPhones. Fortunately, smartphone VPN services are easy to use and generally include the following:
- The installation process usually only downloads one app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Although free VPN providers exist, its wise to choose a professional provider when it comes to security.
- The setup is extremely user-friendly, as the default settings are already mostly designed for the average smartphone user. Simply log in with your account. Most apps will then guide you through the key functions of the VPN services.
- Switching on the VPN literally works like a light switch for many VPN apps. You will probably find the option directly on the home screen.
- Server switching is usually done manually if you want to fake your location. Simply select the desired country from the offer.
- Advanced setup is available for users requiring a higher degree of data protection. Depending on your VPN, you can also select other protocols for your encryption method. Diagnostics and other functions may also be available in your app. Before you subscribe, learn about these features to find the right VPN for your needs.
- In order to surf the internet safely from now on, all you have to do is first activate the VPN connection through the app.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Antivirus Keep Turning Off
Identifying A VPN Service Provider
If your VPN is provided by a VPN Service provider , and you are unsure of who this may be, there are two ways you can identify who your provider may be:
- Registration Name: Many VPN Service providers who bundle Viscosity with their service register it under their name. If this is the case, you can identify your VPN Service provider’s name by opening Viscosity’s Preferences window, clicking on the About toolbar icon, and view the “Registered To” name located at in the top right-hand corner of the window.
- Server Address: If Viscosity is registered under your name, or otherwise not your VPN Service provider’s name, you may be able to identify your VPN Service provider by the Remote Server Address for your connection. For example, an address of “vpn.myprovider.com” may indicate your VPN provider’s name is “MyProvider”, with a website located at “myprovider.com”.You can view the Remote Server Address for your connection by opening Viscosity’s Preferences window, double-clicking on your connection to edit it, and then viewing the address in the Remote Server Address field.
- Your Purchase History: If you have recently had problems connecting to your VPN Server, your subscription to your VPN Provider may have recently lapsed. Check back through your purchase history of your regular purchase method around 3, 6 and 12 months ago to see if made a subscription payment. Many VPN Providers do not auto-renew your subscription as they do not store your payment details.
What Are Dns Leaks
DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, is responsible for translating a websites domain name into an IP address, which is then used by your browser to load the website youre visiting. The default DNS servers your connection uses are the DNS servers operated by your internet service provider, or ISP. When you use a VPN, you switch to using your VPNs DNS servers.
A DNS leak means that the DNS queries for translation are leaking from the VPN tunnel, and internet service providers again have access to your browsing data. Wed suggest that you test for VPN leaks like this often, and if you find your real IP address even once, consider changing your VPN provider.
Without a secure VPN, your internet service provider can see which websites youre visiting, but a VPN keeps that data private. All of the services in our best VPN providers list offer DNS leak protection and will keep your data safe.
Don’t Miss: Ipvanish VPN Keeps Disconnecting
How Do I Find Out Who My VPN Provider Is
Viscosity is software that allows you to connect to a VPN server running OpenVPN. However Viscosity itself is not your VPN provider, rather it allows you to connect to a VPN provider. Your VPN provider may be a third party VPN Service provider, your workplace, or a VPN server you have setup yourself.
A number of third party VPN Service providers bundle Viscosity to their Mac users as part of their service. This makes for a much simpler and seamless setup experience for first time VPN users, however it can sometimes lead to a mistake in thinking that Viscosity is the VPN Service, when in fact it’s just the software that allows you to connect.
Use A VPN The Fastest Easiest And Safest Option
This is the best and most reliable way to hide your IP address. All you have to do is pick one of the top VPN services, download it, and then choose which country you want to connect through. The VPN will assign you a virtual IP address associated with that country, effectively hiding your real location.
One of the biggest advantages of using a VPN is fast connection speed. Unlike with other methods, you wont have to worry about super slow browsing, streaming, or downloading.
This is particularly important if you want to stream content on Netflix or other platforms. These sites are very good at detecting when users are trying to bypass their restrictions, and wont hesitate to block you. But the best VPNs can easily get around even the strictest geoblocks.
VPNs are also the safest way to torrent. In addition to hiding your IP address and protecting your identity, some VPN providers offer dedicated torrenting and P2P profiles.
VPNs are incredibly safe in general, as long as you choose a reputable service that uses advanced encryption and security profiles, such as ExpressVPN. This keeps your real IP address from being leaked.
In my opinion, investing in a premium VPN like the ones listed below is essential; a few extra bucks per month is a small price to pay when it comes to protecting your privacy. My recommended VPNs offer money-back guarantees, so you can test out their service risk-free.
You May Like: Will VPN Slow Down Internet
Whats All This Now Is My Data At Risk
Lets back up a bit. A Virtual Private Network, or a VPN, is great for encrypting your data and boosting security, but its also useful to obscure your IP address. Your IP address is assigned to your internet connection by your service provider, and it can reveal who your service provider is and where youre located. If youve ever visited YouTube and seen Sorry, this video isnt available in your country or tried to sign up for a new service only to find out your country isnt supported, your IP address is how they know.
Many people use VPNs specifically to get around those location restrictions. When you sign in to a VPN, usually you can choose an exit server or a location your VPN will pretend youre actually located. Usually, thats enough to convince a service youre in a supported country.
However, a recently discovered security flaw allows remote sites to take advantage of WebRTC to reveal a users true IP address, even if theyre connected to a VPN. As far as we know, sites arent taking advantage of the flaw yet, but considering services like Hulu, Spotify, Netflix and others are taking steps to identify and lock out VPN users, its not a stretch to assume they will start.
What Is VPN How It Works Types Of VPN
VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” and describes the opportunity to establish a protected network connection when using public networks. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and disguise your online identity. This makes it more difficult for third parties to track your activities online and steal data. The encryption takes place in real time.
Recommended Reading: Will VPN Protect My Privacy
What Is A Router
A router is a piece of electronic hardware you need in your home to be able to access the internet. It acts as your first line of defense from an intrusion onto your network and facilitates the use of wi-fi in your home. At its most basic level, a router connects physically to your modem via its internet, or WAN, port. This physical connection happens through a network cable.
Routers are basically tiny computers; they even have a CPU and memory to deal with the data coming in and out. Youâve used a router if youâve ever set up wireless internet or had to change your wi-fi password. Itâs also the place where your network is encrypted, where you can set up port forwarding rules and where you can change your network name. Occasionally your router will need to have its firmware updated, but for the most part itâs a set-it-and-forget-it item. That said, you will need to know how to find router IP.
So, where exactly does the router IP address come into play?
How To Find Your Local Ip Address Using The Macos Terminal
If you dont like menus and windows, you can start the MacOS Terminal app and use the command prompt to find your local IP address.
Start Terminal. Its probably in the Utilities subfolder of the Applications folder.
Enter the command ipconfig getifaddr en1 at the command prompt. That will tell you the IP address of your wired Ethernet connection, if you have one. Or:
Enter the command ipconfig getifaddr en0. That will tell you the IP address of your wireless connection, if you have one.
To get your public IP address from the Mac Terminal, enter the command curl ifconfig.me.
Now, stop anyone else from finding your IP address
Your public IP address is how both websites and snoops find you on the internet. Sometimes thats useful, because it means you can get personalized and localized information. But sometimes thats tiresome or even dangerous. You should make it harder to be targeted, identified, and tracked online.
The best way to stop people from finding your IP address is to use a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN is a simple piece of software that routes all your traffic through a third-party server, making it nearly impossible for anyone to know where you are or what your public IP address is.
Avast SecureLine VPN;offers airtight online privacy by encrypting your internet connection with a simple click of a button. Download Avast SecureLine VPN today and enjoy true online freedom.
Don’t Miss: Why Does Ipvanish Keep Disconnecting
How To Fix VPN Speed Issues
Is your VPN too slow? Here are a few ways you can speed up your VPN connection. But remember, your VPN can only be as fast as the speed you get from your ISP.
Disconnect and reconnect. You never know sometimes a reset can make a difference.
Change servers. Experiment and see if you get faster speeds on a different server. Some VPNs can auto-connect you to the fastest available server at any time.
Try a wired connection. Wi-Fi is usually slower than Ethernet. Youll likely get faster speeds if you connect your computer to your router with an Ethernet cable.
Close down other apps. The more apps that are funneling data through your internet connection, the slower everything will feel.
What Is An Ip Leak
An IP leak is the leaking of a user’s real IP address while connected to a VPN service. It can occur in a situation where a user’s computer is unknowingly accessing default servers rather than the anonymous VPN servers assigned by the network such as VPN. Here is simple example to understand IP leak while you are using a VPN:
Say you want to access some content that is not accessible from your home country. When you log into your VPN account, usually you can choose between servers in different countries. The VPN will pretend” you’re actually located in the selected region. Usually that’s enough to convince you that you are now virtually in a supported country all good so far!
But, if you go to access that content and are still facing the geo-restrictions, this means that service you are trying to access from a restricted country is actually tracking your original IP rather than the IP from the VPN server. This means your VPN is leaking your original IP.
Most IP leak types can affect any network protocol at one time or another on your smartphones, but the best VPN providers have built workarounds into their software to minimize the likelihood of an IP leakage. IP leaks arent normally the fault of your VPN service provider. They are often caused by vulnerabilities in existing technology like browser plugins , web browsing software and operating systems on our smartphones.
Also Check: Nordvpn On Apple TV
How To Find The True Location Of Your VPN Servers
05 January 2019
Are your VPN’s locations really where the provider claims? Maybe not here’s how to check
Sign up for any virtual private network and you’ll be promised access to a network of servers spread all around the world. Most providers will try to sell themselves on the size of that network, too for example, Private Internet Access offers locations in 33 countries, IPVanish claims 60, and HideMyAss boasts more than 190.
There can be real benefits to these larger networks. The more locations available, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to unblock websites in those countries. You’ll be more likely to find a server near you, perhaps improving performance. And even if your nearest server is overloaded, there are likely to be other alternatives nearby.
At least, that’s the theory.
The reality is that the locations a VPN provider shows you on its server list or map might not always be what you get in real-world use. And that’s not some trivial, academic point it can make a huge difference to the service.
Let’s explore this idea further