So What Does A VPN Do
A VPN lets you use another server to access the internet. This means that while you are sitting in your home in Berlin, for example, you can browse the Web from a server in New York. And the internet will see you as a US resident, giving you access to US-only content.
Still, the relocation of your virtual self isnt the sole benefit of using a VPN. It also protects your data, allows you to surf the Web anonymously, and encrypts your information. Most VPNs come with an extra jugful of built-in features like ad-blockers, integrated firewalls, etc. all of which come in handy.
If you are looking for a VPN already check out our research on the top-rated VPN services out there.
As you can see, a VPN provides many benefits for the average internet user. Now lets see what makes it tick.
Get A Secure Connection
If your mobile device is an indispensable part of your daily life, then a VPN is in invaluable tool to protect your sensitive data, safeguard your privacy, and provide open access to the internet. Whether youre a tech-savvy do-it-yourselfer or a tech-wary just give me an easy app kind of person, theres a mobile VPN solution for you.
Now that youve read this guide and are armed with the tools of knowledge about all things related to mobile VPNs, its time to arm yourself with the tools of protection. Download a free trial of SecureLine VPN today.
Thats Dummy VPN Explained
Now you can answer questions like what does a VPN hide? and what it does. You know the benefits of VPN, and what VPN stands for. Also, you know why VPN is important for your online safety and as such should be considered essential.
Always take your safety into account first and get a good VPN provider like ExpressVPN. If you want to get a free VPN, you can always try out the 30-day money-back guarantee and free trials offered by the different providers.
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Network Scope And Security
VPNs are often used by businesses to build a private computer wide-area network that can be accessed from both the immediate and non-immediate geographical area. A business may be dealing with confidential information it doesn’t want to transmit over the Internet in such a way that the data can be picked off by hackers — so the VPN provides another level of security. Additionally, setting up a VPN enables users to connect to the network over the Internet as if they were in the same local network.
VPNs Take Extra Steps To Hide Your Ip Address
When you use a VPN, your iPhone doesnt connect to the internet through your homes internet connection it adds an additional step to the process.
Everything stays the same except for one thing instead of your home connecting directly to the internet, it connects first to your VPN provider and then to the internet, which makes the VPN provider act like a middleman. Now, when companies try to see where information is coming from, they dont see your home IP address they see the IP address of your VPN provider.
Your VPN provider will know your home address, but if theyre a good company and trustworthy, theyll do everything they can to protect that information from the outside world. Thats why its important to trust your VPN provider and only to use reputable services.
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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?
Are You Looking To Save Money
You can also use your VPN as a tool to save money when youre shopping online. This is especially useful when youre booking flights and hotel rooms, as prices tend to change drastically depending on your location.
Booking websites track your search history and use that information to change the deals and prices they offer you. A VPN will hide this information from them and ensure that you get the best price every time.
You can also make the best of sales when you shop online by changing your virtual location to regions where the product is available for a better price. For example, if you buy gifts for friends and family overseas, you can access the store from a server in their home country for the best deals.
If youre a fan of great prices and deals, HMA operates servers in over 190 countries so youll be able to shop virtually anywhere.
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Does The VPN Have A Kill Switch
What if your connection with your VPN provider drops? Usually, your laptop, smartphone or other device will revert back to public Internet Protocol address provided by your home Internet Service Provider. This means that snoops could then be able to track your online activity and see your IP address until you connect back with your VPN provider.
Some VPN providers offer a kill switch feature to deal with this. If the VPN connection drops, the kill switch is designed to instantly sever your connection to the internet. This way, your IP address and online activity arent visible to anyone else.
Does the VPN have a kill switch?
- Norton Secure VPN no
- Tunnel Bear yes
What Do All Those Protocol Names Mean And Which One Should I Choose
If you’ve been shopping for a VPN service, you’ve undoubtedly come across a bunch of names like SSL, OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, PPP, PPTP, IKEv2/IPSec, SOCKS5, and more. These are all communication protocols. They are, essentially, the name of the method by which your communication is encrypted and packaged for tunneling to the VPN provider.
There is a lot of debate among security purists about which VPN protocol is better. Some protocols are old and compromised. Others, like SSTP, are proprietary to one company or another.
My recommendation — and the protocol I most often choose to use — is OpenVPN. OpenVPN is a non-proprietary, open-source implementation of a VPN communication layer protocol. It’s well-understood, well-regarded, generally quite secure, and robust. Also, it has the benefit of communicating over port 443, which is the standard port for https communication, which means almost all firewalls will allow OpenVPN traffic — and most won’t even be able to detect that a VPN is being used.
Yes, there are certainly other protocol choices, even some that might be more appropriate than OpenVPN in certain situations. But if that’s the case, either you’ve already made that decision, or your IT organization has specified a specific protocol you should use. However, as a default, if you’re not sure what to look for, look for OpenVPN.
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Should I Always Use A VPN On My Iphone
Ultimately, youll need to decide whether you want to use a VPN all or just some of the time, but these tips should help you to make an informed decision:
- Typically, VPNs will slow down your iPhone because it has to connect to another network before connecting to the internet. So, when youre using a VPN on your iPhone, it may be slower than youre used to.
- If youre trying to do something on your iPhone that uses a lot of data such as streaming videos or downloading files then it may be better to turn your iPhone VPN off. In fact, some VPNs will even limit your ability to stream videos because of the amount of bandwidth it takes up.
How Do I Turn Off A VPN On My Phone
If you want to turn off the VPN on your phone you simply go in here:
Theres another way to do it and it is by opening the VPN app from the VPN provider. In the case above it will be an app from XpressVPN or Windscribe. When the app is opened you can simply click the big On/Off button at the center of the screen.
Now you have deactivated the VPN and you will no longer be browsing through an encrypted connection.
For an Android phone, you do it in a similar way. You go to:
And of course, you can also open the VPN app on your Android device and simply turn off the VPN there.
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Does The Provider Offer Mobile VPN
You might understand that you need the privacy protection of a VPN when youre accessing the web through your laptop or desktop. But many of us spend a lot of time visiting websites, watching videos, and playing online games through our mobile devices. Because of this, its important to rely on VPN services when using your mobile devices, too.
Fortunately, most major VPN providers especially those that charge a fee offer mobile services, too. All of the companies in our list, for example, do this. Finding a VPN service that can protect your phone and tablet, then, shouldnt be a challenge.
Is mobile VPN an option?
- Norton Secure VPN yes
- Tunnel Bear yes
Can I Use A VPN To Spoof My Location Or Country Of Origin
Because the VPN server you’re connected to presents its IP address to whatever web application you’re using, by choosing a server located in a different country, you can represent your connection as if you’re in a different country. This may be illegal in certain regions, so use caution when doing this.
In my testing, some VPN providers could successfully hide their originating country or the fact that they were VPNs, but others were not. You’ll probably want to do some testing. Of the services where I did in-depth testing, NordVPN and Hotspot Shield could successfully hide their VPN origins, while StrongVPN and CyberGhost were not.
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Are There Any Downsides To Using A VPN
The added security and privacy youll get with a VPN makes them an essential tool for internet safety. VPN disadvantages are few, but one side effect might be a slight reduction in your internet speed. This is because a VPN encrypts your internet connection and redirects it through a VPN server.
The VPN marketplace is highly competitive, and many leading VPN providers are committed to keeping their services as fast as possible.
VPNs Limit Potential Isp Monitoring
ISPs have a much broader reach than any individual website when it comes to what behavior they can track and what types of information they technically and legally can collect. But few ISPs are transparent about how much information about their customers they store and for how long, instead relying on broad disclosures in their fine print. In theory, a VPN will prevent an ISP from monitoring or logging all the traffic to and from your home Internet connection, because your data is encrypted as it passes through your ISPat best theyd see gibberish passing from your home to a VPN server.
However, if you do decide to connect through a VPN for most of your browsing, youre handing that same power to the VPN service as the single centralized point through which all of your traffic will pass. If you use a reputable, trustworthy VPN that goes out of its way to avoid collecting data on you or your activities, its a good trade-off. But if your VPN is collecting data or doing a poor job securing its own network, its a pointless exchange.
Although the extent is unclear, its certain that your ISP will collect data on you.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, most of the discussion here addresses ISPs and law enforcement in the United States situations are different in other countries. For instance, the European Union has specific rules on collecting and protecting customer data.
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What Does VPN Do For Your Phone
VPN is a service that encrypts your connection to the Internet.
When you connect to the Internet, your connection is visible to your Internet Service Provider .
What VPN does for your phone is that it is an intermediary protecting your connection between your phone and your server.
All you have to do is download a VPN app for your phone which will help you access restricted websites and apps, and perform banking activities safely.
VPNs Are No Guarantee Against Government Tracking
Despite leaks and disclosures about government data-collection efforts in recent years, its hard to determine the exact reach of current operations and how vulnerable encryption technologies like VPNs are to those efforts. Given the more immediate threats to security and privacy from other avenues, none of the experts we interviewed highlighted government data collection as the foremost reason for most people to get a VPN. A VPN could help prevent some types of passive data collectionand a trustworthy VPN certainly cant hurtbut theres no guarantee against government tracking.
In our exchanges with security expert Alec Muffett, he suggested, Some privacy activists expend great effort in hiding from the man, where the man really doesnt care about them. So they just make excess work for themselves. Bill McKinley, head of the information security team at The New York Times, went further, saying, If you really feel that what youre doing online is that valuable to government x, then you probably shouldnt be leveraging the Internet. Were not saying its hopeless, but even if you seriously overhaul how you conduct your activities online, there are no guarantees you wont get caught up in a database somewhere.
Some privacy activists expend great effort in hiding from the man, where the man really doesnt care about them.” Alec Muffet, security expert
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Is Your Isp Limiting Your Bandwidth
If your ISP limits your bandwidth to help with network congestion or to lure you into upgrading your plan, your VPN can help increase your speeds. With a VPN, youll bypass ISP throttling by communicating directly with your chosen remote server.
Youll get the highest speeds if you connect to one thats close to your physical location, so look for VPN providers with servers in your country.
IPVanish operates over 1,000 servers across 60 countries, so youre bound to find one thats close to you.
Is VPN Traffic Encrypted
Yes, traffic on the virtual network is sent securely by establishing an encrypted connection across the Internet known as a tunnel. VPN traffic from a device such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone is encrypted as it travels through this tunnel. Offsite employees can then use the virtual network to access the corporate network.
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When Should I Use A VPN
Connecting to a public WiFi network is at times convenient, like when youre without internet service or cant get any bars on your phone. On the other hand, connecting to public WiFi can be a risky endeavor. Its impossible to be sure that someone else isnt connecting to the same network to snoop on what youre doing. Even if your traffic is encrypted they can still see which sites you are visiting. And if youre using an app that doesnt have encryption and even today, many dont then they can see everything you are doing.
When youre at home, the risk of bad actors showing up on your home network is lower. However, your internet service provider can track and share your online activities because all the data that you access on the web is routed through your ISPs network, some of which may not be encrypted. A VPN can prevent ISPs from spying on you by encrypting your traffic to your VPN provider no matter where you are.
Is It True That A VPN Is Completely Unhackable
No. No. Did I mention… no. Nothing is unhackable. As evidence…
In January 2018, Cisco Systems revealed that a critical bug was found in its ASA software that could allow hackers to execute code remotely.
This is a bug in enterprise-level VPN systems used by corporations, so it’s severe, indeed. Fortunately, responsible IT administrators can patch their systems to fix the bug. However, it goes to show how no system can be truly deemed absolutely secure.
Another example was a bug in Hotspot Shield, a popular VPN service. This bug allowed a hacker to expose private information, including originating IP. Hotspot Shield issued an update, which gives us an excuse to remind you that you should always install updates, especially on your VPN client software.
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VPNs Vs Proxy Servers
There is a lot of confusion about proxy server versus VPN being the same thing. They are not.
A proxy server simply masks your identity to other websites. If you use a proxy to connect to a website, your ISP is masked by that proxy. It appears as if you have a new IP address to the website youre connecting to and thus that site does not know who you are. You appear as a different identity and location via the proxy, where that specific proxy server is physically located.
To break it down, a proxy is the middleman between your computer and the internet. It acts as an intermediary to mask your computers identity.
Heres the downside of using a proxy, and where it gets a little invasive The proxy server knows your real identity. While almost all HTTPS connections like online stores, financial and email services are secure, the owner of the proxy can see all the unencrypted sites you visit. If you decide to use a proxy, youre putting a lot of trust into them.
If the proxy is the middleman, the VPN is the secure tunnel that connects you directly to whichever website youre visiting, encrypting your information along the way and masking the location of your ISP. To the websites you visit with a VPN, you will appear to them as if youre located where the VPN servers are housed.