VPNs have suddenly become an integral part of online life around the world. When used properly, these tools can guarantee your privacy and keep your information safe and complete, including browsing history, emails, music, and broadcast content.
But before you start choosing a VPN and enjoy its benefits, you need to understand more about what it is and how it works. That way, you are in a high position to choose the right provider and use your VPN in a way that increases your privacy.
What is a VPN: a brief introduction
The name “VPN” has some clues as to what these tools are doing.
First of all, it is “virtual”, which means that they create a model of a private network using traditional web infrastructure.
The second is “private.” When creating a virtual network, a VPN uses techniques such as encryption and tunneling protocols to create a barrier between your data and the rest of the web. Therefore, it is difficult for an outside agent to know what you are doing online.
Finally, a “network” VPN tends to maintain a large server community with locations spread across the world. By directing user traffic through these servers it is possible to change the user’s location on the Internet and assign anonymous IP addresses.
Most of the time, a VPN is in the form of a client – an application that creates an interface between a computer or smartphone and the provider’s server. These clients use the tunneling protocol that is the backbone of any VPN.
Case Study: Mullvad VPN
It might be easier to explain this system with a case study, so here is Mullvad VPN the top provider. (You can check out our Mullvad VPN review here if you want more information: https://vpnpro.com/vpn-reviews/mullvad-vpn-review/)
In this case, the provider uses a protocol called OpenVPN (one of the most advanced protocols) and AES 256-bit encryption to lock in packets that hackers cannot modify.
Users go to Mullvad’s homepage where they can pay for their account using cryptocurrency and register anonymously. Therefore, they do not leave any traces of their identity at any stage.
Mullvad has 282 active servers around the world in countries such as Australia, Bulgaria and South Africa. When running the client, you can choose which server to connect to and your IP address will be immediately forwarded to show your location in that country.
How does a VPN work?
However, these are fundamental. Let’s go into more detail and talk about some of the key elements of a good VPN.When you choose a provider, you’ll come across these factors, so it’s helpful to know what they refer to.
Encryption refers to how a VPN converts unprotected data into hard-to-decrypt packets. The best AES encryption tools use very complex encryption. (Algorithms that allow users to encrypt and decrypt their data)
Only users with specific “keys” can decrypt the encrypted data, and in most cases, these keys change regularly every few minutes.
As of now, we don’t know if crackers have successfully decrypted AES-256-bit encryption, so look for these requirements when choosing your provider.
Servers and speed
VPNs vary greatly based on the size of the server community and the speed they offer. Users can expect some degree of slowdown. It’s fishy when the speed doesn’t decrease slightly. In these cases, insufficient quality protection could mean that your carrier is not making a difference at all.
As a general rule, the more servers you have, the better. This way, the more likely you are to find the connection more quickly. And most importantly, you have the maximum number of anonymous options.
If you want to use a VPN to bypass Netflix’s geo-blocking, this is a must. So please double check the server number before paying. A suitable provider like NordVPN maintains thousands of servers. So why bargain?
Leak prevention is another important consideration when VPNs change your IP address, they don’t need to route your traffic through a remote server. It is also important to make sure that your original IP details are not “leaked” to outside observers.
Be careful here, too, if VPNs don’t clearly explain how they handle IP or DNS leaks. And don’t forget to test your IP address after downloading your client. If not, then it’s time to choose a different provider.
Customers and equipment
A good VPN also has an easy-to-use client with lots of options. For example, it should come with a ‘off switch’ which will cut off the VPN protection if problems occur. And there should be a mix of protocols, proxy services, and even the opportunity to restrict VPN protection for specific applications.
Additionally, the right provider supports a variety of devices and platforms.Look for a company that allows you to connect five or more devices. (Especially if you’re buying for family) and apps for Android and iOS phones, as well as Windows or Linux.
The difference between free and paid VPNs
Finally, we have to talk about free VPNs, when you choose a service provider, you are always enticed with a free provider. In some cases it may work. But free VPNs generally offer sub-standard service.
Free service providers tend to leak your IP address, often include adware or malware in their customers, and offer weaker encryption. Therefore, we recommend checking with paid service providers if you are serious about online privacy.