What is a VPN Service?
A VPN or virtual private network connects two computers together. It allows one computer to control another PC remotely.
One popular use of a VPN is for anonymity. Since VPNs encrypt the connection between the user and the server, all data shared is free from hackers and ISPs.
Think about it like this. If you lived in Washington, DC and you connected to a VPN in Canada; any sites you accessed through that connection would think you are from Canada. Furthermore your ISP would not be able to see the list of websites you visit.
When you visit a site through a VPN your request goes to their server, that server then accesses the site and sends the results back to you in an encrypted connection. Nowhere in this whole process are you directly exposed to the internet. This is different from a proxy which merely changes your IP address. A VPN server accesses websites for you and then sends you the encrypted data.
If you weren’t using a virtual private network all your data could be intercepted by your ISP and websites would know exactly where you’re accessing the site from.
Another Use of VPNs
Many people use these to access a private network remotely. Let’s say your work network can only be accessed from inside the building. What a VPN will let you do is remotely connect to a computer inside the building. Then you can access the work network through the computer in the building remotely.
In general a VPN allows you to connect to another computer and to access other networks through that computer. Whether you are using one to protect your identity, or to access a private network, you are still controlling that computer remotely.
Some other uses include bypassing school, work, or government firewalls, downloading legal or illegal files, securing your sensitive data on the internet, accessing country specific broadcasts, and keeping your identity anonymous.
Most popular VPN services use SSL or IPSec protocols to encrypt all data sent between the user and the server. Both of these protocols are supported by computer programs, Android, Windows Phones, and iOS.
But the question is should you use a service like this? Well the answer is simple. It depends what your internet activities involve. The people that need to use this type of technology will know it right away, but the average internet user would also benefit from using a V.P.N. service.
Since even the best VPN services are very cheap (about $15 a month) it’s a good idea to start using one. You can install all the firewalls and antivirus software you want, but if you don’t use a virtual private network, you’re still going to be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Accessing the internet through an encrypted connection is going to be safer than directly doing so.