What Does It Mean When A VPN Service Talks About Simultaneous Connections
The term “simultaneous connections” generally refers to the number of devices that can be connected to the VPN service and talk to the internet at once. For example, when I was driving across the country and working in my hotel room at night, I often had both my MacBook Pro and iPad connected to the internet.
I used the MacBook Pro for writing, keeping the iPad open to do searches and find supporting information. Both of these were connected to the internet at one time. This was possible because the VPN service I was using allowed up to three connections to open at once.
This is also a good way to provide support for more than one family member on a single subscription. Generally, there’s no good reason for a VPN provider to allow less than two or three connections. If your provider only allows one, find another vendor. We gave extra points in our VPN directory to those vendors who allowed three or more connections.
What Is A VPN And How Does It Protect Me
A VPN is an app that you install on your device to help keep your personal data safe as you browse the internet
You may have heard that VPN apps live on your device and allow you to connect to the internet securely. What that means is, when you turn your VPN app on, your device makes a secure connection to a specialized computer that routes internet traffic, called a VPN server. You also may have heard that your connection is wrapped in an encrypted tunnel which means your device and the server share a secure connection so only you can see what youre doing on the internet.
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.
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Considering What A VPN Does Not Do Should You Still Use One
Yes, of course.
A lot of the things a VPN does not do are only “drawbacks” due to misinformation or specific scenarios . Take them out of the equation, and you’re left with a very decent service.
Just off the top of our heads, a VPN will stop bandwidth throttling, potentially prevent DDoS attacks, encrypt your data , bypass geo-blocks and firewalls, make torrenting safer, and hide your digital footprints .
Use it together with other security solutions , and you’ve got an excellent way to keep your data and privacy safe on the web.
If you’d like to find out more about the perks of using a VPN or just learn how a VPN works, check out our complete guide on VPNs.
VPN Uses: Keep Your Online Chats Private
While there are a number of secure messaging apps available , many popular apps don’t offer encryption, or require you to opt-in rather than opt-out. If your messaging isn’t encrypted there’s a chance it could be intercepted by an outsider.
Also, while it won’t affect your regular cell signal, a VPN can help protect your VoIP calls. And, even if your service provides encryption as standard, using a VPN as an extra layer of protection will give you the reassurance that you really can speak your mind.
Read more about the best mobile VPN apps available today
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Stay Safe On Public Wifi Networks
Exploiting public WiFi networks to gather data is simple and incredibly cheap. Criminals can take advantage of open and unencrypted networks to steal important data like your bank details, credit cards, photos, and other personal information.
When you use the public WiFi connection in a café, hotel, or airport you are putting your sensitive personal data at risk.
Hackers are increasingly targeting hotels and shopping malls in pursuit of high-value targets. This is made easier with cheap equipment that gives almost anyone the ability to take advantage of public WiFi networks for under $99.
A VPN can be used to protect yourself from this kind of threat. It will encrypt your internet traffic and make it almost impossible for hackers to understand and exploit your data.
For this reason, a VPN is an invaluable tool if you travel frequently and regularly use open WiFi networks.
Unprotected networks at home are also a risk. As remote work becomes more common, criminals are turning their attention towards vulnerable home networks a practice known as wardriving.
If youre concerned about your security on public networks, read our guide to staying safe on public WiFi.
SUMMARY:VPN services encrypt all the traffic leaving your device. This means you can use a VPN to protect your sensitive data on unprotected WiFi networks. If an attacker intercepts your connection, they will only see strings of unintelligible letters and numbers.
In A Nutshell How Does A VPN Work
In short, a VPN redirects your traffic away from your ISP’s servers and send it through its own. While doing that, it encrypts it so no one else can read it, even it were to be intercepted.
VPNs use a number of different protocols to transfer your data, with OpenVPN and WireGuard now considered the most popular and secure.
While VPNs function well to protect your data, many use them to unblock streaming content from overseas. That’s possible thanks to global networks of servers owned by a particular service, and by routing through a server in a different area, you can trick sites into thinking that you’re really there.
Overall, VPNs are extremely handy applications and provide lots of different functions. Now that you know more about how they work, you should be in a better position to choose a VPN provider that suits all your needs. However, if youd like to learn more about VPNs, check out our What is a VPN? guide.
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Provide Safety Through Anonymity
When using a VPN, your network information appears as if it is coming from a location different than your own. This disguise for network data helps keep VPN users safe, because anyone looking to steal information would be getting the VPN servers data instead. Using a VPN keeps the user’s location and other valuable information secure and inaccessible by unwanted parties.
Can I Get A Free VPN
For a long time, it was something of a truism that “if you don’t pay for a product then you are the product”. At best you could use a very limited free service that was little more than a taster for a paid-for service that might actually want to use.
This situation has changed over the last couple of years, and there are now at least a couple of free VPN services out there which are actually quite good. Even these are limited in various ways, though, compared to more premium services. We have found that cheap VPN services are among the best on the market. VPNs with the most sought after features can be found for less than $2 a month.
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Secure Connection For Remote Work
Businesses today need to consider internet safety more than ever. With more people than ever working from home, sensitive company and customer information is at a higher risk of theft.
For example, say an employee connects to a work computer remotely on a public network without using a VPN. Theoretically, anyone on that public network could gain access to the internal company network, because the employee did nothing to hide their information.
Unfettered access to company files and customer information can be catastrophic to a business. Using a VPN to connect to business-based networks can help ensure that sensitive data is hidden behind the dummy information provided via the VPN.
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
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Are Free VPNs Safe
You can choose from many free VPNs. This could be useful if you are on a limited budget. Be aware, though, that free VPN services might not provide the same type of browsing privacy that pay services offer. Free VPNs have to make money somehow. They might do this by tracking and collecting your browsing data and selling it to third parties, like advertisers. Others might hit you with a steady stream of online ads. Free VPNs might be easier on your wallet, but using one might compromise some of your privacy.
How To Get An Aws VPN
AWS VPN offers two valuable services: AWS Site-to-Site VPN and AWS client VPN. AWS Site-to-Site VPN enables you to securely connect your on-premises network or branch office site to your Amazon Virtual Private Cloud . AWS Client VPN allows you to securely connect users to AWS or on-premises networks. Learn more about connecting your office to AWS here.
To get started, simply and set up Client VPN or Site to Site VPN today.
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What Is A VPN And Why Would I Need One
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more…
Justin Duino is the Managing Editor at How-To Geek. He has spent the last decade writing about Android, smartphones, and other mobile technology. In addition to his written work, he has also been a regular guest commentator on CBS News and BBC World News and Radio to discuss current events in the technology industry. Read more…
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.
These days VPNs are really popular, but not for the reasons they were originally created. They originally were just a way to connect business networks together securely over the internet or allow you to access a business network from home.
How Private Are VPNs Do They Log Everything I Do
In my VPN directory, I tracked two types of logging. The first is whether they log traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. This is pretty nasty stuff. If a VPN service logs this, they would have the information you might choose to hide, like sites you visit, locations where you are, and possibly even information you might be sending.
Although the use of these services will still protect you from Wi-Fi spies in your hotel or restaurant, I can’t recommend signing up for any service that does DNS, traffic, or IP logging. There are better, more private options.
The second type of logging is more benign. VPN services that log bandwidth usage and connection timestamp data usually do so either to tune their own systems or manage any abuse of their services.
I have less of a concern with services that just monitor bandwidth usage, as long as they don’t store any specifics. That said, we gave top marks to those services that don’t do any logging. When I choose a VPN service, those are the services I pick for my use.
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VPN Uses: Stay Safe On Holiday Abroad
If you’re heading to a different country, data laws may be different and government censorship could be common. In these cases it’s clear you’ll want to use a VPN , but even if you’re heading to a more ‘friendly’ country, a VPN could still be useful.
You’ll be able to access sites as you would at home , and stream content you’re used to back home.
The only issue is that you might not find that you’ve got much of a use for your VPN when you get home. We’d disagree with that , but if you don’t want to keep paying for something you’ll never use, check out a monthly VPN plan. They’re cheap and require no commitment perfect for staying safe on a holiday.
What Is A VPN And How Does It Increase Your Online Security And Privacy
The number of VPN users has grown considerably over the past few years. According to a report by Go-Globe, 25% of netizens worldwide have used a VPN at least once in the last 30 days. The global VPN market is predicted to reach 35.73 billion dollars by 2022. However, with more and more people using VPNs every day, this figure could easily end up being greatly surpassed. So, why is that? What is it that makes VPNs so useful? Why are so many people using one every day?
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Assess The Suitability Of Each Option According To Your Needs
As everyone has different needs, you may need a different VPN than others. To find your ideal tool, research your potential options carefully, and ask yourself these questions:
Can You Use This VPN On Multiple Devices?
The average U.S. household has 10.37 devices that may need VPN protection. Other countries have fewer devices on average, with the leaders behind the U.S. being the U.K. with 9.16, Norway with 8.82, and Sweden with 8.51 devices per household.
Take all devices into account when selecting a VPN.
Many VPN providers restrict the number of devices you can connect to the VPN on their basic plans. Look at each providers pricing and find the best overall deal. It may be cheaper to get a VPN that works on multiple devices than to pay for a Mac, iPhone, and work computer plan.
Are There Data Limits?
As it can be expensive for VPNs to maintain servers, some providers limit your internet access with bandwidth throttling . Check if your potential providers can handle it if you need high bandwidth.
Where Are The Servers Located?
If you need to use a VPN to browse the internet in a specific country , check that your potential VPN clients have servers there.
Does It Work on Mobile?
What Operating Systems Are Supported?
Speed and Reliability
Benefits Of A VPN: It Lets You Work Remotely
If you work in a corporate office of any kind, you probably have to connect to an internal or local area network at work. When quite a few people, whose job affords them the capability, are now working from home, a VPN lets you connect to the office network and work remotely. You can access any confidential information you need that would otherwise only be available in the office. The data is encrypted as it travels to and from your home.
Remember that corporate VPNs used to connect to office networks are very different from the consumer-grade services that we generally talk about for personal use. You, or the companys IT administrator, will need to manually set up the VPN on your devices first to ensure that you have access to the office network as required.
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VPNs Reduce Some Types Of Online Tracking
You can use free browser extensions to prevent the most common ways that websites and ad networks track your browsing activity and gather information for marketing profiles. But if youre trying to leave as few tracks as possible online, a VPN can add an extra layer of privacy by preventing tracking based on your IP address .
Large sites and platforms that trade in personal information, such as Facebook, track your browsing across the web, even if you dont have an account. Facebook collects, sells, and shares information, too, and that info can be used for purposes beyond marketing. By changing your IP address with a VPN, and mingling your activity with that of potentially dozens or hundreds of other people using the same VPN server, you make it harder for those sites to build a marketing profile based on your personal online behavior. Of course, if youre signed in to your assorted online services, youre out of luck regardless of VPNs or browser extensions. If youre curious about how well major companies protect your data privacy from broad government data requests, check out the EFFs annual Who Has Your Back? report.
If youre signed in to your assorted online services, youre out of luck regardless of VPNs or browser extensions.