11 min read

1. Virtual Network Protection

Imagine the internet as an open highway. Without a VPN, implementing data security is like making cars out of paper, your identity as flimsy, and anyone can easily peek at your transactions or see who you are. A virtual private network (VPN) can help secure your internet traffic from prying eyes. A VPN creates a secure "tunnel" by encrypting data, essentially hiding internet traffic from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), the government, and hackers. ISPs sometimes have a tendency to throttle, or slow down, users' internet speeds, and a VPN can actually remove internet throttling and traffic shaping because the customer controls which traffic goes through the VPN "tunnel". Another great advantage of using a VPN is bypassing regional restrictions on websites and other content. Be it foreign governments censoring their citizens, or multinational companies restricting where content can be viewed from. A VPN can allow people to "pretend" to be in a different country. Simulation of location can also help to reveal localized pricing on products. For example, someone in Australia can use a VPN server located in the United States to purchase a product for a cheaper price. A VPN might just seem like a small tool, but in reality, it is much more than that. VPN is like a secure tunnel for the transmission of data between two places. All of the data is encrypted so only the sender and receiver can see it.

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1.1. Definition of a VPN

The secure connection from your computer to the VPN server can seem to be a bit complex initially, but it's definitely not. Just use the three-step process in a VPN connection. Step 1: Your computer creates a TCP/IP connection to the VPN server. Step 2: The server responds to this connection by providing secure login and password information. Step 3: After the server authenticates your information, data from your computer is encrypted and sent through the secure tunnel to the VPN server. VPNs essentially forward all your network traffic to the network, which is where the benefits come from. It is the network that should be the base for any VPN's operations.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.

1.2. Purpose of using a VPN

Accessing services anywhere: VPNs are particularly useful for frequenting public Wi-Fi hotspots because the VPN encrypts the user's data, preventing snoopers from intercepting it. In the circumstance where all a user has is a dial-up internet connection, they can use a VPN to get access to their normal ISP with a broadband connection just by plugging into a different broadband ISP. For this reason, many employers require that their employees use a VPN to access the company's intranet. VPNs are also extremely useful for remote countries. A user located outside the US might sign up for an account with an internet US bank, but due to his location, the bank may block the user from accessing the account due to fraud concerns. A US-based VPN would allow the user to bypass this restriction and access the account without being blocked.

2. Benefits of Using a VPN

Firstly, this provides a great way of avoiding regional censorships. For example, if you are living in a country with internet censorship and you encounter a block on a website with useful information, you are still able to access that site using a VPN. Furthermore, it allows you to access foreign websites that are region restricted. An example of this would be using a VPN to access your favorite UK TV show from abroad or locating great deals on flights that can only be found from another country.Anonymity and privacy protection Using a VPN, you are able to browse the internet completely anonymously. This is achieved through the fact that when using a VPN, your true location and IP address are not revealed. Instead, you are able to connect to a server in another country, so that you appear to be browsing the web from that location. This provides several benefits.Enhanced online security With cyber crimes on the rise, internet security has never been so important. When using a VPN, your data is encrypted, so even if a hacker did manage to intercept your data, they would be unable to read it. This allows you to use the internet in public places, such as Wi-Fi hotspots, without fear of your data being stolen. The encryption that a VPN provides is especially useful if you are doing online banking, using cloud storage, or sending private information over the internet.

2.1. Enhanced Online Security

During your connection to the VPN, your original IP address is cloaked and is replaced with an IP address from the VPN provider. This means that the location of your computer and the location of the VPN server is the same. Some VPNs also offer the option to obtain a new IP address at the location of your choice if you are looking for a specific IP address location. It is important to note that your real IP address will never be susceptible to being unveiled due to the fact that your ISP simply cannot log your activity. This is due to the fact that your traffic is encrypted between your computer and the VPN server/VPN node. So, your ISP will not know what you are doing online. This is true particularly with a no logging VPN. This is important to understand, as numerous people assume that a change in IP address means that they are 'anonymous' and have an increased level of privacy. This is not inherently true - your anonymity and privacy is a function of the level of encryption employed and the VPN's privacy policy. VPN's encryption will prevent Local ISP from Throttling Your Connection Once your traffic exits the VPN server, it can be sent to the original destination. This means that your original ISP cannot throttle your VPN connection, and in many cases, an ISP cannot even notice that you are using a VPN. VPNs will increase your online security and privacy when in certain locations. Any user who is using Wi-Fi at a public location has the potential of a hacker on the same network gaining access to your data. This is especially true if the user is accessing sensitive information or if the hacker is simply looking to steal identities. To minimize this risk, a VPN will encrypt your data through the Wi-Fi network. Since data encryption is performed, your data is safe from the peering eyes. Your data is essentially gibberish and would take computing power light years to decrypt.

2.2. Anonymity and Privacy Protection

When it comes to privacy, the internet can be a scary place. It is filled with a variety of types of people including hackers, government spies, and companies that are all out to get your personal information. VPNs work by creating a secure tunnel around your internet connection. This encrypts the data you send and receive, keeping your details safe and hidden from prying eyes. The main benefit of enhancing privacy is also having the ability to surf the web anonymously. By using a VPN, you can surf websites and not have anyone track your IP address. VPNs are also handy for unblocking restricted sites. Many countries, schools and workplaces block video streaming sites, social networks and other services. By connecting to a VPN, you can access blocked websites because the data is securely encrypted.

2.3. Access to Restricted Content

Someone living in Kuwait, for instance, often deals with clients' websites and servers in other countries. This often leads to needing to bounce between different VPNs, install network hardware, or make use of remote desktop solutions that are so laggy and unresponsive as to be almost unusable. After someone recommended a VPN as a solution to access websites as if I'm in America, I tried out the free version and found that it does exactly what it says on the tin. With servers in the US, UK, and Switzerland, most VPN customers can access the country of their choice and get an IP address from that locale. This will be useful not only for localizing to a specific country but also because many of the server owners I have to liaise with prefer to do so with people who are local to them. Accessing the internet from within another country for such mundane things as online banking can also lead to being locked out of your account until you are able to confirm your location, a situation which has happened to me in the past. By changing your IP to a US-based one, you can avoid such frustration.

3. How a VPN Works

A VPN system secures your data during transfer, and this is closely related to the authentication aspect. Not only the data but also the identities and the negotiation of the details of the secure session are protected. A VPN system uses encryption and tunneling to wrap data packets in transit, which makes it very difficult to intercept them. This can be done using a variety of methods with differing levels of security. IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) is a comprehensive security standard for IP. It provides a high level of security by authenticating and encrypting each IP packet of a communication session. Encryption is optional in PPTP, depending on the requirements. It can provide security equivalent to that of IPsec or it can provide virtually no security if the encryption option is not used. Data packets are wrapped within headers and trailers, adding another layer of security. L2TP is often used with IPsec to establish a VPN, offering a high level of encryption and security, but there is a higher cost attached to it. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is widely used for secure and private data transmission across the internet. SSL VPNs provide a methodology for authenticating users by passwords, with certificates, and dynamically with cookies. SSL also gives control to set access rights to resources at the file level and can include running logon scripts. Standalone SSL VPN systems can provide a precise level of security and are less complex to configure than IPsec, PPTP, or L2TP. A benefit of VPN technology is its ability to connect remote users and regional offices to a single intranet, and this provides the focus for VPN server locations. VPN server locations are typically global, enabling users to connect out to the internet via an access point local to them and then make a secure connection to a VPN server on their intranet. This is particularly useful for employees doing work in the field or at home. Users can access resources such as email and shared files. Remote access is also useful for small one-off tasks and an effective way to reduce network costs by replacing dial-up access servers with network access.

3.1. Encryption and Tunneling

Any information traveling from your computer to a VPN server is securely encrypted. Since the information travels over the public internet, it is effectively tunneled through the internet, meaning it is transferred to the public internet in encrypted format. This ensures that the data is hidden from hackers or snoopers, even if the traffic is captured. If the data is intercepted without the encryption key, it will appear in a format that is unusable to third parties. VPN users can choose what level of encryption they prefer, although the stronger the encryption, the higher the CPU load and the longer the key length, the longer it will take to negotiate the encryption session. Tunneling protocols enable the types of data that are to be sent through the tunnel and the way that the data is to be handled once it is received. It is best to understand tunneling protocols as the roads which data travels on. Just as there are secure roads for military vehicles and public roads for civilian vehicles, there are different types of roads for data. The most commonly used tunneling protocols in the VPN industry are PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, and SSL. An understanding of each type of protocol and its encryption strength is vital for moving on to a discussion on VPN protocols.

3.2. VPN Protocols

OpenVPN is an open-source VPN software developed by James Yonan back in 2001, when the other VPN technologies of the time were too insecure. OpenVPN uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. This is the same encryption used by HTTPS websites and is generally considered to be the most secure. OpenVPN can work at either the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol) level. The advantages of using OpenVPN are that it's much more flexible in the ports it can use, making it difficult for any network administrator or firewall to block.IPSec stands for Internet Protocol Security. It's a secure way of encrypting the information and data packet transferring over the internet. IPSec acts at the network layer, protecting and authenticating IP packets between hosts, gateways (routers), or desktops. There are two modes of IPSec encryption. Transport mode encrypts the payload of the packet and the visible header. This is stronger, but can't always work over the internet if there are network devices between the client and the server that block ESP (Encapsulated Security Payload) packets. IPSec Tunnel mode is used to encrypt the whole packet when an IPsec VPN is made. This is as secure as transport mode, but can work over the internet and any other IP-based network.PPTP stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. This is one of the easiest VPN technologies to set up and configure. It is developed from straight dial-up to optimize authenticating and maintaining sessions with internet service providers other than direct over an internet connection. While it may seem odd to use a dial method over a broadband connection, using PPTP to simulate a dial-up connection can prevent local data capturing and limit the abilities of your internet service provider to throttle connections. PPTP is generally less secure than IPsec and OpenVPN, however, it's certainly secure enough to protect you from many forms of surveillance and data analysis.Between the VPN server and your computer or other client device using a VPN, a VPN connection can be built in several different methods. Each method has its implications for the connection's control, data security, and transmission speed. The VPN connection process known as an 'in-call' phase is typically negotiated and is either controlled (a connection setup controlled by an outside network) or autonomous, such as with dial-up. Data transferred between your client (i.e. computer, smartphone) and the VPN server is typically encrypted through one of 3 methods. The level of encryption provided by these methods can protect from nosy internet service providers, to full-on data capture by governments. The transmission of the data is generally secure, but can be less straightforward to set up, depending on the level of security required. Listed below are the networking technologies behind them and the encryption required for each method.

3.3. VPN Server Locations

In this case, server location is quite important. Understanding that using a VPN will slow down the speed of the connection, it is not ideal to make that difference significantly greater. This can be controlled by choosing a server close to the actual location of the device when the connection is actually quite fast. Should the user want to teleport elsewhere through the world and use the internet as though they were in that location, the VPN service provider will have many servers located in a variety of different regions for the user to choose from. This is a significant factor in differentiating the quality of service between different VPN providers.The primary reason to use a VPN is because there are many different actors at play who wish to get their hands on your personal information, and some of those are quite harmful and ill-intentioned. A significant downside to using a VPN is that it will decrease the speed of your internet connection. This is due to the time it takes for data to travel to the server and back to your device, which may be significant if the distances between the exit node and your actual location are far.Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an online service that makes it possible to secure the connection to the internet and ultimately protect your privacy by carefully using a system that hides your IP, which gives away your location and identity on the internet. VPNs permit users to teleport themselves anywhere in the world by simulating that their connection is truly there, by changing the exit node of where the internet connection will make the request.

4. Considerations When Choosing a VPN

If you're trying to find a swift VPN, make sure that you can also be in the vicinity of the servers provided by the provider. A reputable provider offers fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. And remember that video chat applications, VoIP calls, and other web services that utilize high-quality audio may not function well with VPN latency.VPN connection speeds are important to several individuals, especially those who like to use video streaming services such as Netflix or engage in online gaming. Most VPN services run servers based around the world. There can be a set number of IP addresses available for every tier offered by the provider. This implies that switches may also become backlogged with too many users attempting to use the same IP. Server switching is a feature provided by most VPN services that allows you to change what server you're connected to. It's particularly useful if you're looking to access a company's private network from a remote location. It enables you to use the internet and bypass the firewall that would have otherwise blocked you from accessing any private network.A VPN is a vital tool in your privacy and safe web browsing arsenal. However, knowing if a VPN is correct for you can be a bit like heads spinning on. There are a range of accessories items to consider if you're searching for the finest possible VPN for your needs. Many individuals believe cost to be an important factor when picking a virtual private network. This tip goes against the very thought of what a VPN may be. Additionally, remember that it's never a good idea to save money on security, especially when you're paying for a service to protect your personal data via an encrypted tunnel. It's also a good idea to consider where the VPN company is based. If the VPN company is located in the US, UK, or any other country that isn't considered "privacy friendly," you should be concerned that the government may be tracking and recording your online activity.Available at [Link]

4.1. Connection Speed

Reliability is arguably the greatest quality of a VPN provider, with connection speeds being an influential factor in choosing the most reliable service. Below are the results of our VPN speed test. We tested the speed of the VPN connections on an independent basis, in order to give you a clear and objective view of the speed you can expect from each VPN provider. The nature of the tests involved three different connections: a wired connection with a base speed of 50Mbps/3Mbps, and a Wi-Fi connection using the same base speed, conducted at two different times of day. We compared these results against the speed of the same connection with no VPN. When comparing speed test results of each VPN provider, it is important to remember the variability of VPN speed due to the multitude of factors involved. These factors include the time of day, server location, and the user's base internet connection. Always consider these results as a rough estimation of speed relative to other VPN providers.

4.2. Logging Policies

Certainly, if anonymity and privacy are the most important thing to you, you want to avoid any VPN provider who logs any data that could be used to identify you. This data could include your real IP address as well as content of your internet traffic. All data, even that which is claimed to be used for aggregate purposes only, has the potential to be misused and there is no way to know when it will be destroyed. Therefore, the best policy is to find a service provider who keeps no logs. This way, there is no possibility of the data being misused. Even if the best log-free VPN is subpoenaed by a government agency to release its user data, they will have nothing to release.There are a variety of factors which go into choosing a VPN, besides speed and pricing. One often overlooked factor is the VPN provider's logging strategy. Logging is the practice of monitoring and recording data on the traffic and user activity of a network. This is a very invasive practice, as the nature of traditional logging is akin to surveillance and denies the user the benefits of privacy and anonymity. This data may be sold to third parties or stored in databases to be sold at a later date. It may also be used in criminal or civil cases to monitor and prosecute a user's online activity.

4.3. Device Compatibility

Another compatibility issue to consider is whether or not the VPN service is able to be configured on a router. This is especially useful for users who want to ensure that all of their connected devices use the VPN service. It can also mean that devices that are not typically compatible with VPN services may still use the service. Usually, only some services can provide a complete and clear answer to whether or not this is possible, so it will be necessary to consult the specific VPN.Device compatibility is another important consideration when selecting a VPN. Although the majority of VPNs can be installed on a desktop PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, there are times when a user may want to use the service on a different platform. For example, a journalist using a VPN service to access Gmail in China may only be able to access the service using a smartphone or tablet. This will rule out any VPN service that does not have an app for iOS or Android. Users who want to torrent will also want to ensure that their VPN service allows them to use the service on both desktop and mobile devices. This is typically done through a subscription that offers the service on multiple devices. In the case of the journalist, he may also want to use the service on his laptop as well as his mobile device. In this case, it may be best to opt for a service that allows use on multiple devices.

4.4. Customer Support

Ease of use Ignoring bells and whistles, detecting who has the best VPN software is not easy to do. Private Internet Access is hard, we found. TunnelBear has an attractive interface, but it's not very flexible. IVPN and Mullvad both swipe work secret windows from the 90s, and at the time that is acceptable. AirVPN and PrivateInternetAccess are also really easy to use - onward, ideally. When we say "ideal," what we really mean is the fact that the VPN clients are much easier to use for someone who doesn't care about bells and whistles and just needs something that works. Custom made but high may be the answer here. NordVPN source is regal, and anything involving China and Award is immediately impressive, showcasing a combination of alerts and confusing menus. TorGuard retains its original design even after an overhaul. An in and user should be given to using all of these VPN services off, only to learn that they want something simple that means one or two clicks.

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