Be Careful With Free VPN Services
You always need to be somewhat wary of free products and services and VPNs are no exception. Although some free VPNs will do their job very well, not all of them will be able to compete with paid VPNs.
Many VPN services claim to be free but still take something from you, even if it isnt money. For example, some free VPNs, such as Hola, sell your data connection to other customers. Other free providers even monitor the websites you visit so they can sell this data to marketing agencies.
In other words, you might think your online life is protected by these free VPNs, but your privacy is actually being compromised even more.
Is Using A VPN Safe For Banking
Because a VPN encrypts the data you send, such as when you enter your log-in credentials, it can protect you while you are visiting your banks online portal. Snoops wont be able to see your log-in information if you first connect to a VPN. This is especially helpful if you must access your online bank through a public Wi-Fi connection. You should only do this in an emergency because such online connections are so vulnerable to hackers. But by logging onto public Wi-Fi through a VPN, you can block your browsing activity from cybercriminals, hackers, and other spies.
How To Set Up And Use A VPN
A VPN is one of the simplest ways to protect your privacy online. Best of all, installing and using a VPN app is easy. Whether you’re working from home because of COVID-19 or you’re using unsecured Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, this is how to do so safely!
It might sound paranoid to say you should use a virtual private network as often as possible, but there are real threats to your privacy. Whenever you connect to the internet, your internet service provider has access to everything you send and has been given the green light from Congress to sell your anonymized information to advertisers. If Coronavirus has forced you to start using public Wi-Fi, unscrupulous individuals can attempt to intercept your web traffic. Out on the wide-open internet, advertisers can track your movements between websites and discern your location by peeking at your IP address. And don’t forget what three-letter government agencies may be up toit’s scary out there!
The fact is that the internet was created for easy information exchange, not user privacy, anonymization, or encrypted communication. While HTTPS goes a long way toward protecting your information, it doesn’t guard against all ills. Unless and until a new, more private internet comes togetherdon’t hold your breathusing a VPN is the easiest way to make sure that you’re sharing as little information as possible.
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What About My Ipad
For those with VPNs on iPads, you will be pleased to know that you can use the same steps we have outlined for iPhones! As they feature a virtually identical setup , you can follow either one of the methods listed above to delete VPNs from your iPad. The process is quick and easy you can either uninstall the VPN app or delete the VPN profile the choice is yours.
Remember that depending on the software on your devices, some extra steps might be necessary. Ensure that both your iPad and iPhone are running on the latest iOS update to ensure your devices run smoothly and you can follow our guidance!
To Be Secured On Public Wifi
Another great reason to use a VPN is for security. When you connect to public wifi, you are essentially giving anyone on the same network access to your device. Cafes, airports, and hotels are all great places for hackers to set up fake wifi networks in order to steal your data.
This means that if there is a hacker on the network, they can easily steal your data. However, if you connect to a VPN before connecting to public wifi, your data will be encrypted and much more difficult for hackers to access.
Even if a hacker does manage to steal it, they wont be able to do anything with it. So, try to find a VPN with strong security protocols that you can trust.
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How To Use A VPN To Access Streaming Content
Popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video use your IP address to find out where you are and determine which content you can watch. Because licensing agreements vary between countries, you may not be able to see certain movies and series in your region or even entire platforms, like Hulu unless you use a VPN.
You can use a VPN to mask your IP address and trick streaming services into thinking youre in another country, so that you can access content for different regions. For example, lets say you want to watch Harry Potter on Netflix. Thats not possible in most places, but you can use a VPN to easily connect to a server in a country where its available.
Using a VPN to access streaming content is easy.All you have to do is connect to a server in the country where the content youre looking for is available, then launch the streaming service like you normally would. Check out our step-by-step guide for more details.
However, some streaming services do their best to block VPNs so that users are limited to their actual regions. You might get an error message if they find out that youre using one. But the best VPNs for streaming know how to prevent these issues by constantly updating their IP addresses and using advanced methods to evade blocks.
Advantage : Anonymity Online
Without a VPN your location and even your identity can be traced without too much hassle, thanks to your IP address. This IP address is unique to your internet connection. It is like an online postal code that tells people who you are and where you are at. It enables people to connect your online behavior to you.
A VPN hides your IP address and location. When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is rerouted through an external server and your online activities can only be traced back to the IP address of the VPN server, but no longer to your IP address and you.
By using a VPN, websites, marketeers, streaming services, governments and cybercriminals can no longer identify you with your IP address, because they only see the IP address of the VPN server youre connected to. Moreover, they wont be able to find out your real location, because to others it will look like you are where the VPN server is.
So by using a VPN your online activity will no longer be linked to your own IP address. This way you can browse the internet with more anonymity.
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Set Up A VPN On Apple Devices
VPNs are also directly configurable on all iPhones, iPads, and Macs. You have to go through a few extra steps on macOS, but its a breeze on iOS.
How to manually set up a VPN on iOS
Manually setting up a VPN on macOS
Youll have to go through the different sections and add the required information.
- First, select VPN Type, choose the VPN protocol, add a name, and click on Create.
- You can then enter the server address, authentication and login info, and any additional network administrator settings.
- Click Apply and then select OK.
- To connect to the VPN, go to System Preferences > Network, click on the VPN service name and click on Connect.
- You can also select Show VPN status in the menu bar and use the status icon to connect to the VPN network quickly.
Advantage : Protection Against Hackers And Governments
A VPN encrypts your data traffic through strong encryption protocols, which make intercepting and reading your data almost impossible. Why is this important? Well, in this day and age there are a lot of parties that want to listen in or take a look at what you are doing online.
There are many different parties that are interested in your internet traffic, among them are governments and cybercriminals. The security a VPN offers makes it a lot harder for them to look at your data. This increases your online safety.
We have to mention that a VPN isnt the ultimate solution to all things cybercrime. We always recommend combining a VPN with a good antivirus solution so you cover all your bases.
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How Can I Get A Free VPN
Unblock Websites At School Work Or Abroad
Have you ever been at school or the office and needed to access your social media accounts or other websites only to discover youre blocked? Many companies, schools, and even countries restrict access to certain websites or online services. Whether its for censorship, saving bandwidth, or trying to increase productivity, content blocks are frustrating.
Blocked content hinders people from accessing the information they need to complete projects, homework, or improve their daily lives even social media sites have become vital tools for communication. A VPN is an essential tool to unblock the websites you need, no matter where you are.
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How Do You Get A VPN And Which One Should You Choose
Depending on your needs, you can either use a VPN from your workplace, create a VPN server yourself, or sometimes host one out of your house but realistically the vast majority of people are just looking for something to protect them while torrenting or help them watch some media online that they cant seem to access from their country.
The easiest thing to do is simply head to one of these sites, sign up, and download the VPN client for your Windows PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, or iPad. Its as easy as that.
- The Best VPN: ExpressVPNThis VPN server has the best combination of ease-of-use, really fast servers, and supports streaming media and torrenting, all for a cheap price.
- A Free Option: TunnelBearThis VPN is really easy to use, is great for using at the coffee shop, and has a free tier. Its not good for torrenting or streaming media though.
- A Solid Contender: StrongVPNNot quite as easy to use as the others, but you can definitely use them for torrenting and streaming media.
All of them have free trials, so you can easily get your money back if you change your mind.
What’s The Best VPN For Gaming
Most VPNs are chosen based on having a good balance of speed, security and cost. But if you want a VPN specifically to connect to game servers in another country, speed is everything. Free VPNs won’t be fast enough, but, fortunately, high-end security won’t be a cost driver, which gives you more options at modest prices. Since all VPNs reduce speed — most by half or more — that means picking one from the set that performed best in our speed tests. In tests, Surfshark managed to win our speed race while still being one of the least expensive VPNs we’ve seen. If you’re focused on VPNs for game consoles, have a look at our best VPNs for Xbox and our primer on installing them.
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Can You Install A VPN On Any Device
The best VPNs offer versions for Windows, macOS, and all kinds of mobile devices, as well as extensions for different web browsers. They also allow you to connect several devices at once and some even provide unlimited connections. This means you can install your VPN on just about every device you own, from your laptop to your iPad to your smart TV.
Some VPN providers, like ExpressVPN, are especially good for iOS and Android devices, with intuitive apps that provide all the same features as the desktop version. I always recommend installing a VPN on your mobile devices, since itll keep you safe from unknown networks and help prevent malicious attacks over public WiFi connections.
Another option is to install a VPN directly on your router, or even order a router that comes with it pre-installed. This means that every device connected to your router will automatically be protected, eliminating the need to download lots of different apps. It will also allow you to connect as many devices as you want to the VPN, even if the provider limits connections.
For more information, check out our guide to installing a VPN on a router.
Do I Need A VPN At Home
Yes! VPNs arent just for when youre traveling or using public WiFi. When youre connected to your home network, your IP address is visible and easily accessible to otherswhich could put your privacy at risk. Thats why you should always use a VPN to shield your location and activity, no matter where you are or what youre doing online.
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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.
What A VPN Won’t Do
With all this talk about how a VPN will secure your identity and protect you while online, it’s worth noting what a VPN will not do:
It won’t secure your home network connection
You still need to ensure your modem/router is securely connected to the internet. Make sure encryption is turned on , and use a strong password to stop others getting access to your network, using up your data allowance by piggybacking on your connection and possibly even getting access to your private information.
It won’t protect your computers from malware
A VPN is no replacement for properly installed and configured antivirus software on your computer. That should always be turned on and kept up to date. Though some VPN services include antivirus checking in their list of features, this should be seen as an extra level of protection and shouldn’t be relied on for general protection.
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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.
Connect To A VPN In Windows
Whether it’s for work or personal use, you can connect to a virtual private network on your Windows PC. A VPN connection can help provide a more secure connection and access to your company’s network and the internet, for example, when youre working from a coffee shop or similar public place.
Note: This feature is not available in Windows 11 SE. Learn more
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