Internet

Virtual Private Networks: What Are They and Do You Need One?

Are you beginning to get confused with all the new technology and terminology that goes with it? If you’re like most people, the answer is yes – and we don’t blame you. It may feel like every day brings another new product and it’s hard to know what you need and why.

With this said, you may have someone in the office talking about a VPN or a virtual private network but never thought to ask what it is or why it’s used. Maybe you tried to look it up online only to find that the articles were almost in another language.

Don’t worry if you didn’t understand other techie articles. We’re going to explain exactly what a virtual private network is and why you should consider using one in a way that you can understand. Keep reading for more information!

Virtual Private Networks: The Basics

Before we begin talking about VPNs, you will need to understand what a normal computer network is. They are quite simple, really, and can be summed up to two or more computers that are connected to each other, allowing for data transmission.

This connection may be established by physically connecting the computers with wires or by connecting them to a server that shares information with each user. This means that users might be in the same room as one another or possibly on other continents but still able to see the same information. It also means that any data shared between these computers might be seen by other users on the network, whether they’re supposed to be there or not.

Any time you use the internet, you are connecting to one of the largest networks in the world which includes hundreds of thousands of other people. In order to connect, your computer must have an Internet Protocol address (IP address.) This IP address basically gives a ‘name’ and location of the device being used to connect.

Most people can’t find you or learn personal details by learning your IP address but may be able to see a general location of the device being used. Unfortunately, an IP address may allow some skilled users to see any activity that takes place on your device, including search engine results, shopping habits, or even photos that are stored in the cloud.

This is where a virtual private network comes in. Having a VPN allows you to have secured, encrypted access to the internet which keeps prying eyes away from your data, browsing history, photos, and other sensitive information.

Do I Need a VPN?

You’re not doing anything wrong, so what do you have to hide – that might be what you’re thinking right about now. You don’t buy illegal substances online, you don’t look at fetish sites, your photos are as wholesome as they come, plus your banking information is already encrypted, so why would you need a VPN?

No matter how safe you think you are online, there is always someone who can get their hands on your information. Most commonly, this information is used for fraudulent purposes like identity theft.

Aside from this issue, your geographic location or your country’s government may prevent you from seeing or sharing certain types of content. This could be as simple as Netflix offering different programming to certain countries or as complex as the Chinese government not allowing most types of social media.

Using a VPN will allow you to hide any and all of your data, browsing history, location, and numerous other pieces of personally-identifying information. This ultimately makes for a safer, more anonymous internet experience.

A virtual private network is also a necessity if you choose to (or have to) use torrents to download/upload files. Torrents allow for peer to peer (P2P) file-sharing, allowing for quick access to large files all over the world. When these files are shared, your information can become visible to others if you aren’t protected by using a virtual private network.

Unfortunately, many people use torrents to illegally download and upload content. This leads to many VPNs discouraging people from torrenting files, even the perfectly legitimate and legal ones which ultimately stifles the sharing of ideas. Unlike most other providers for NordVPN torrenting is possible. This provider actually encourages the sharing of information by having the best safety features and being incredibly user-friendly.

‘Yes’ is the Answer to Your Question

A virtual private network might sound like a fancy computer term but as you can see, it is just another way for an internet user to protect themselves and their information. If you still aren’t sure whether or not you need a VPN, we can tell you right now that the answer to your question is a resounding ‘yes.’

As technology continues to evolve, your employer may require you to use a VPN to connect to their servers should you choose to work from home. You may simply wish to keep your data private while using your phone’s browser. You might also want to see content that is otherwise banned in your country. Whatever the case, there is no real reason to NOT have a VPN.

Regardless of how you use the internet, what types of content you download/upload, or what your search engine results look like, further securing your internet connection is always a good idea. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are remaining anonymous while online and that you have complete browsing freedom.