What does a VPN do?
If you’re not overly tech savvy and you want to know what a VPN is, you can be forgiven for giving up on it almost immediately. When searching for information on the subject you’ll no doubt be directed to articles mentioning things like tunnelling, L2TP, dedicated IPs… blah blah blah… Well don’t worry, if you’ve not needed those things at this point in your life, the chances are you’re not going to need them now.
Put simply, A VPN connects you to a different city, often in a different country. While you’re connected to a new location, your real IP address is no longer visible to anyone. As far as any websites know, your address is the location you’re currently connected to. This gives you anonymity – you can’t be tracked via IP address.
This VPN thing sounds good, is it easy and will it cost me?
There’s loads of VPN providers out there, it’s a big business but what might surprise you is it can be free and easy. A lot of people get a VPN so they can stream the latest movies, tv shows and sport for free and they obviously want to hide their IP address as they’re getting it from very dubious sources! This actually helps the likes of us who just don’t want big brother watching their every move while browsing the web, it means lots of companies offer free plans to entice the streaming crowd in, they then upsell bigger plans to them.
The free plans vary, generally they’re either too slow to stream video content without it buffering or they cap the amount of data you can use each month, meaning you’d only be able to watch one or two movies. So long as you’re not planning on streaming video or using loads of data, these free plans are fine for anyone just wanting a solution for safe browsing.
Regarding ease of use, there was a time when it was pretty difficult and required lots of configuration but nowadays nearly all VPN companies have their own apps you can install, usually available on the official App Store & Play Store. Once the app is installed you need to enter your login details and then every time you want to use it, you just open the app and click the country you want to connect to. Your device will stay connected until you press the button to disconnect (or your WiFi disconnects).
For more information regarding VPN’s and recommendations on the best ones, please visit the forum.
|Your internet provider can’t see what sites you’re accessing||You need to remember to “connect” to your VPN before accessing websites|
|Websites are unable to see your IP address||It’s rare but some websites will block access if they see you’re using a VPN|
|Generally the internet will be faster than when using Tor, even on a free plan|
|You can bypass geo-restrictions, this means you can access content not normally available in your region.|