What is a Virtual Private Network? VPN 101

Based on the nature of work done by a particular company, there might be a need to encrypt their outgoing and incoming Internet traffic. In such a scenario, a Virtual Private Network proves to be very helpful. A VPN also allows you to bypass regional restrictions imposed on BBC, Sky, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming channels. What is VPN? And how does it actually work? Here’s my VPN 101.

What is a Virtual Private Network? VPN 101
What is a Virtual Private Network? VPN 101

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A Virtual Private Network – VPN 101

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a private network system that is used to conceal any online activities carried out by a particular company or group of users. It essentially provides privacy online. VPN also prevents any access to data otherwise considered sensitive by protecting the users against any potential online hazards. Over time, the use of VPN’s has continually increased to the level that they are also being adopted by households so as to provide enhanced protection. Aside from this, an added advantage to home internet users is the fact that VPN’s bypass any website restrictions that would otherwise prevent access from users based in certain locations.

VPN 101 – How VPN Works

Once a connection to a VPN server is established, your actual IP address becomes hidden through encryption. This ensures your privacy against any government agency hoping to track your online activity or any hacker bent on accessing files that you’d want to keep private.

VPN 101 – Different VPN Protocols

A VPN connection can be established using various protocols, each with a different level of encryption. OpenVPN offers the highest level of protection.

  • OpenVPN
  • IPsec (Internet Protocol Security)
  • LT2P (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
  • PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)

VPN 101 – Unblock Geo-restricted Content

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of content providers who are very particular about their viewing audience. In this case, VPN’s prove to be very essential to users who would wish to access or stream content from channels such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer or Showtime, but do not belong to the list of approved locations.

A real life scenario comes into play when an expat who is used to streaming from these channels can no longer do so from his country of work. He would then have to connect to an American VPN server and consequently unblock all American channels regardless of his current location.
The same also applies for users wishing to download content through torrent sites like KickAssTorrent and The Pirate Bay. Those wishing to access social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter can also use VPN. You can continue with your downloads without worrying about your ISP tracking your downloads and surf through your social sites that would normally be blocked at your school, college or place of work.

VPN 101 – The Best VPN Providers

A vast number of providers out there claim to offer good service. Therefore, it is essential to begin your search with a checklist. Here are the kind of qualities that define a top VPN provider.

  • First off, try to ensure the VPN service you are using does not breach any customer privacy policies i.e. keeping logs of your online activities.
  • Secondly, the VPN server speed is also critical to take note of. It determines the speed at which your videos are going to load without any buffering delays.
  • Third, the number of VPN servers provided and the countries in which their service is available should be noted. Keep in mind that established VPN providers offer apps/clients that can be used on their customer’s device so as to simplify the whole process of connecting to a VPN.
  • Finally, ensure that your VPN provider has excellent customer service ratings alongside a 24/7 helpline.

Following extensive research on the best VPN providers out there, my pick goes to ExpressVPN. They outdo the rest in terms of quality of service as well as delivery. To make your search easier, here’s my top list of the best VPN service providers.

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VPN 101 – The Conclusion

Cheap/free VPN providers tend to have key VPN features missing. Subscribe with a reliable VPN provider like ExpressVPN to get exactly what you pay for. Free, unrestricted, and secure Internet.

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