When Should I Use A VPN
For the best security, you should use a VPN as often as possible, whether you’re using public Wi-Fi or working from homeall the time, ideally. But that’s an aspirational goal, and it’s not always achievable. If your VPN is causing problems and you need to switch if off, don’t beat yourself up. At minimum, you should use a VPN whenever you’re using a network you don’t control, and especially if it’s a public Wi-Fi network.
VPNs for Android and iPhones are a little trickier, particularly if you frequently move in and out of cellphone coverage. Each time you lose and regain data connectivity, the VPN has to reconnect, which adds a frustrating wait. It’s also just less likely that your cell traffic can be intercepted by bad guys, but we’ve seen researchers prove that it can be done.
Most mobile devices can automatically connect to any familiar looking Wi-Fi network. That’s out of convenience to you, but it’s trivially simple to impersonate a Wi-Fi network. Your phone may be connecting to a digital honeypot without you even realizing it. At minimum, you should use a VPN when connecting via Wi-Fi to keep your data safe, even if your device falls for an attack like this one.
Three Great VPN Providers For Beginners
If youd like to start using a VPN, its easiest to choose a trustworthy provider and access the internet through their servers. We have tested most major VPN providers of this moment on their usability and quality. Most good VPN providers offer trials so you can check out their service free of charge. If youd like to get started with a simple yet great VPN, we recommend ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark.
What Does A VPN Hide
When you connect to a VPN server, your IP address changes, and the data traffic on your device gets encrypted. Changing your IP address changes the location that’s associated with you online: if you’re using the internet in Australia, but connect to a VPN server in the US, you’ll appear online with an American IP address. Meanwhile, encryption scrambles data, making it look like gibberish to anyone who tries to read it. If you’re using a trustworthy VPN service, your browsing activities become illegible to snoopers.
However, this doesn’t mean you’re entirely untraceable online. Internet service providers , websites, and even governments can determine whether you’re using a VPN. They might not know what you’re up to online, but they will have no difficulty with VPN detection. So, how can a VPN be traced?
Recommended Reading: Att Blocking VPN
Unrestricted Worldwide Internet Access
Keeping a VPN constantly connected means that you can have access to geo-restricted content from around the world. When you use a VPN, it connects you to a secure server in a location of your choosing, so it can make it look like you are in that country.
So if you want to watch Hulu or HBO Max but arent in the US, a VPN will let you bypass these restrictions from anywhere in the world. It will connect to an American server and create an American IP address to make it appear as though you are in the States, even if youre not. The other benefit of this is that you can switch servers seamlessly, so you can access an American server to watch Hulu, then switch to a British server to watch BBC iPlayer.
Which Is The Best Free VPN
Not all VPN services require that you pay. There are, in fact, many excellent free VPNs. But all the free VPNs we’ve tested have some kind of limitation. Some limit you to just a few simultaneous connections or devices on an account. Others restrict your data. Others limit you to just a handful of servers. Still others do all of the above.
Finding the best free VPN is an exercise in balancing those restrictions. TunnelBear, for example, lets you use any server on its network but limits you to 500MB-1GB per month. Hotspot Shield also places no limits on the number of devices, but it restricts you to 500MB per day and only US-based servers. Kaspersky Secure Connection doesn’t limit your devices but doesn’t let you choose a VPN serverthe app does it automatically.
Editors’ Choice winner ProtonVPN has the unique distinction of placing no data restrictions on free users. You can browse as much as you want, as long as you want. You will be limited to just one device on the service at a time and can only choose between three server locations, but the unlimited data makes up for all that. It doesn’t hurt that ProtonVPN, from the same people that brought you super-secure ProtonMail email, is very concerned about security and customer privacy.
You May Like: Should I Use VPN On My Iphone
VPN Uses You May Not Know About
Defeat hackers, avoid ISP throttling, shop in safety and much more
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a remarkably useful tool for your online life. On a fundamental level, VPN use consists of a tunnel that your encrypted data travels down, keeping you more secure and anonymous on the internet.
In recent times, there has been more interest in using VPNs as a first line of online security – hardly surprising in the current climate of increased surveillance, not to mention more invasive regulations being passed all over the world.
And, on top of all that, internet users have begun to cotton on that VPN uses go way beyond mere security. They’ve become a fantastic tool for TV streamers, torrenters, travellers, shoppers and many more folk besides – it’s no wonder that there’s now an International VPN Day!
And there are some VPN uses you might not be aware of. So in this article, were going to highlight a dozen specific use cases for a VPN, detailing precisely how the technology works in your favor in each instance.
- Just want to know which to get? Check out our best VPN countdown
What VPN Providers Are There
Above we have shown you three good VPN providers but there are hundreds of companies that offer commercial VPNs. Just type in VPN in the App Store or Play Store, and youll see a dizzying amount of VPN apps, that are often free to download. And then there are also quite a few companies that offer business VPN packages.
We like to help and have tested many VPN providers already. You can find more information about testing and the results in our VPN review section.
Below youll find a selection of VPN providers to give you an impression of the amount of services out there. We also state under which jurisdiction each VPN provider falls and whether the VPN provider is located in a 5, 9 or 14 eyes country the governments of these countries exchange information.
The jurisdiction may have implications for the privacy of VPN users, as each country has different privacy laws. In practice, there are therefore differences in which user data VPN providers store. With privacy in mind, you ideally want to use a VPN that doesnt log or track anything about your internet activities.
Recommended Reading: VPN Settings For At& t
Do I Need A VPN At Home
Staying in is the most effective way to protect yourself during the pandemic, and that means a lot more time online at home. A VPN can help secure that critical connection.
A VPN adds a layer of protection to your online activities by building an encrypted tunnel between your traffic and anyone who tries to spy on you. VPNs are good for when you’re out and about, using Wi-Fi networks that aren’t your own. A VPN can also help protect your privacy at home, and it may also let you access streaming content that would be otherwise unavailable. Since most of us are spending a lot more time at home than we used to, it’s more important than ever to understand when you do need to use a VPN at home.
How To Get A Good VPN That Isnt Dangerous
Although there can be certain dangers to using a VPN, that doesnt mean theyre all bad. Finding a good quality VPN still provides a ton of useful features that can help keep you safe online. To make sure you dont regret your VPN purchase, weve provided a handful of recommendations below, along with useful criteria to evaluate a VPN on your own.
Don’t Miss: How To Use Windscribe VPN On Firestick
Which Protocols Does It Offer
OpenVPN is the current industry standard for VPN protocols dont use a VPN that isnt providing it. OpenVPN is fast and stable while supporting AES-256 encryption, which is about as uncrackable as it gets.
Other protocols to look out for are WireGuard, a newer open-source protocol that contains around one-tenth as much code as OpenVPN , and IKEv2, which is especially good for mobile devices and macOS.
Avast SecureLine VPN: OpenVPN , IKEv2
AVG Secure VPN: OpenVPN , IKEv2
CyberGhost: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, L2TP
ExpressVPN: OpenVPN, IKEv2, Lightway, L2TP,
IPVanish: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, IPSec, PPTP
NordVPN: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
StrongVPN: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, SSTP, IPSec, L2TP
Surfshark: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Shadowsocks
TunnelBear: OpenVPN, IKEv2
How Many Devices Can Connect To The VPN At Once
Think of how many devices in your home connect to the internet. You have your laptops, tablets, smart phones, and voice assistants. You might even have smart appliances that access the web.
Thats why its important to work with a VPN provider that allows several devices to connect to it at one time. That way, you can have both your laptop and your childrens tablets routed through a VPN at the same time.
Some VPN providers might offer different plans that allow for a higher or lower number of simultaneous connections. In general, you can expect to pay more for a greater number of connections. Top providers allow you to connect 10 or more devices simultaneously.
Number of simultaneous VPN connections:
- Norton Secure VPN 1, 5 or 10 based on plan level
- PureVPN 5
- Tunnel Bear 5
Recommended Reading: How To Get A VPN On Xbox One
Will A VPN Drain My Battery
The more apps you have open at any given time, the more battery power they demand, whether youre on your mobile device or your laptop. While your VPN app shouldnt use a large amount of power, it will still consume a bit more of your battery life than if you werent using it.
Some VPNs offer a battery-saver mode in the settings. If not, you can disconnect your VPN when youre not actively using your device.
Why Is Online Privacy So Important
The internet is expanding exponentially. As more people start using smart devices, they risk exposing intimate personal data online. And with ISPs tracking, storing, and selling the browsing history, habits, and behavior of their customers, its essential to lock down your private data.
Your personal information should be just that personal. Without privacy protections, you may be exposing yourself to identity theft and other cybercrimes, as well as tracking by advertisers, your ISP, and your government.
Read Also: What Is VPN In Aws
Which VPN To Choose To Prevent Tracking
While a VPN protects you from tracking, you should also be careful when choosing one. We strongly recommend staying away from free VPN services as they usually do more harm than good. The problem is that a lot of them monetize their operations by collecting user data and selling it to third-parties, or by bombarding you with ads. Moreover, they may have quite limited functionality.
Here are a few other aspects to pay attention to when choosing a VPN provider:
- Obfuscated servers function. It hides the fact that you use a VPN, so no one can block your connection if they find you doing this. It is especially useful when operating from areas where VPN connection is restricted
- Kill Switch. This function terminates your online connection if a VPN service is down. In this case, your online activities wont be exposed accidentally
- Strong encryption. Make sure a VPN uses the most up-to-date encryption protocols with no backdoors or vulnerabilities
- DNS leak protection. Make sure a VPN sends all your DNS queries through a secure VPN tunnel to keep them private at all times.
Check out NordVPN’s extra security-oriented features here.
Protect yourself properly.
Best Ways To Use A VPN
A VPN is one of the most versatile tools at your disposal. With it, you can do plenty of things. Here are the main reasons why people use VPNs.
Don’t Miss: How To Install Pia VPN On Firestick
What Does No Logging Mean
No logging means that your VPN provider doesnt keep any records of what you do while using the VPN. A no-log VPN provider wont track or store any information sent over the VPN connection they know only your IP address, payment information, and the VPN server you use while connected.
Whenever an activity happens on a computer, that event is logged. Since servers are computers, they collect information by default whenever theyre accessed by a device such as yours.
Protect Your Privacy Online
These days, almost everything you do online is tracked. Your internet provider tracks your web history and file downloads. Advertisers track your browsing patterns and search history with cookies . Websites record your IP address and demographic data every time you visit.
Sometimes a person just wants a little privacy. A VPN is the best tool for the job.
Here are some examples:
You May Like: How To Use Urban VPN
Are There Free Versions And Does It Matter
Many of the top providers offer free versions of their VPNs. But the free versions may be limitations for instance, on how much data you can use.
Some VPN providers offer free trials of their paid versions. The trials typically run for about a month. Some allow to access most of the VPN features of the paid service, although there may be data limitations.
If you sign up for a free trial, you provide the same personal and payment information youd use if you were signing up for the paid service. You can cancel your account before the end of the trial. If you dont cancel, the provider will begin to bill you for continuing service.
Keep in mind, some free VPNs may collect and share or sell your data to third parties for marketing purposes, while others may not block ads.
Are free versions available?
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.
Read Also: How To Get VPN On Samsung TV
Prevent Throttling / Speed Up Your Internet
The secret is out, internet providers worldwide are throttling their subscribers web traffic, resulting in slower-than-advertised speeds. This is most noticeable when using high-bandwidth protocols such as:
- streaming HD video from Youtube, Hulu, or Netflix.
- Playing FPS or realtime strategy games
- BitTorrent / P2P
- Kodi streaming addons
Do you have a 50+ Mbps connection but your Youtube videos keep re-buffering? Cant consistently stream Netflix in 1080p?
Blame your ISP. Theyre throttling your traffic and not delivering the speeds youve paid for.
Your ISP can only throttle specific sites if they are able to inspect and separate your traffic into throttle and dont throttle categories. If you use a VPN with strong encryption, your ISP cant read your traffic or separate it into high and low-speed tunnels. As a result, they must legally route all traffic at your advertised connection speed.
Meaning no more buffering youtube videos. Brilliant right?
Learn More: How to defeat ISP throttling
Adaptable To Numerous Smart Devices
While many of us may first try a VPN on a company-loaned laptop, many VPN services also protect other smart devices such as your phones, tablets and desktop computers. Each VPN company may offer slightly different protection plans and have different capacities to protect different devices, but many providers offer plans that help keep you safe on multiple devices.
Also Check: Does Verizon Have VPN