What is a VPN and how it works....

Additional Information

 

How a VPN works

A VPN works by creating an encrypted connection between your computer/device and a VPN server. Think of this encrypted connection as a protected “tunnel” through which you can access everything online, while appearing to be in the location of the server you are connected to. This gives you a high level online anonymity, provides you with added security, and allows you to access the entire internet without blocks or restrictions.
Without a VPN, everything you do online is easily traceable to your physical location and the device you’re using via the device’s IP address. Every device that connects to the internet has a unique IP address – from your computer to your phone and tablet. By using a VPN, you will hide your true location and replace your computer’s IP address with the VPN server’s IP address.Good VPN services typically maintain servers all around the world. This gives you lots of connection possibilities and access to worldwide content.After purchasing a VPN subscription and downloading the software for your device, you can instantly connect to any of these worldwide servers.Now that you know how a VPN works, let’s cover the reasons for using one.

Why a VPN is used

So why is a VPN used?It really depends on your situation, but there are many different reasons for using a VPN service.Here is a brief list highlighting some of the reasons why a VPN is used by people all over the world:

  • Surf the internet without revealing your real IP address and geo-location (online anonymity).
  • Add an extra level of security by encrypting your internet connection.
  • Prevent your Internet Service Provider (ISP), third parties, and governments from spying on your online activities (thanks to encryption).
  • Unblock websites and access content that is restricted to certain geographic locations.
  • P2P download and stream media (such as Kodi) in safety.
  • Bypass censorship by easily getting around regional restrictions.
  • Save money on flights and other online purchases by changing your IP address (geographic location).
  • Protect yourself from hackers anywhere you go – especially while using public WiFi connections in cafés, hotels, and airports.
  • Protect your private data, such as bank passwords, credit cards, photos, and other personal information when online.
  • Surf the internet with peace of mind.

Now we’ve covered why a VPN is used, we’ll move onto another question that many people have about VPNs.

Are VPNs safe?

Using a good, high-quality VPN is generally considered safe.However, there are a number of VPNs with known problems that you may want to avoid. This is usually due to leaks, which will expose your identity. One interesting study found that 84% of free Android VPN apps leak user data.There are also a number of different VPN scams to watch out for. In general, if you see a “deal” that appears to be too good to be true, then it probably is. This applies to all the various lifetime VPN subscriptions.And as a final warning, you may want to avoid free VPNs like the plague. Free VPNs are generally data collection tools that will sell your private information to the highest bidder. Here are the seven hidden risks of free VPNs:

  1. embedded malware (quite common with free VPN apps)
  2. hidden tracking (many popular VPN providers hide tracking in the apps to collect your data)
  3. third party access to your data
  4. stolen bandwidth
  5. browser hijacking
  6. traffic leaks (IP address leaks, DNS leaks)
  7. fraud (identity theft and financial fraud)

These are just a few of the risks with free VPN services.As the saying goes, when something is free, then you are the product.Sounds good, but you might be wondering…

Are VPNs legal?

In short, the answer is yes, VPNs are absolutely legal.With very few exceptions, such as in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), VPNs are completely legal to use. Some Middle Eastern countries, such as the UAE and Iran, frown on the use of VPNs because the government works so hard censor the internet and social media. Naturally, they don’t like anything that lets people get around this censorship.But even still, with laws in these countries, the VPN itself is not illegal. It is only when a VPN is used to get around government restrictions that it becomes illegal.This is also the case in China, where the government has been fortifying its “Great Firewall” to prevent VPN access. Russia has also attempted to “ban” some VPNs – but these measures often fail, simply because VPN traffic can be hidden to look like regular HTTPS traffic. There are a few VPN providers that do quite well in obfuscating VPN traffic with their apps. These include ExpressVPN, VPN.ac, and VyprVPN.Important note: VPNs are routinely used by businesses around the world for network security. Therefore you will likely never see an outright “ban” on VPNs, because they are absolutely necessary for both businesses and individuals for security and online privacy.But can’t people use VPNs to do bad things?Of course, but you should think of VPNs like steel. Steel can be used for good purposes, such as bridges, buildings, and transportation. But it can also be used to build bombs, guns, and tanks, which harm people. Completely banning steel because it is sometimes used for bad purposes would be insane and stupid.The same is true for encryption and VPNs. Banks, businesses, and any website that deals with sensitive data must use encryption technology every day. VPNs and encryption are necessary tools that we all need to be using, even if a few people misuse this technology for their own reasons.

Online privacy and security – the details

A good VPN can provide you with both online privacy and security.  A good VPN can provide you with both online privacy and security.  Without a VPN, your internet service provider (ISP) can easily see and record everything you do: sites you visit, comments you make, social media interactions, and everything else. As noted above, many countries require ISPs to log user data and browsing activities.But when using a VPN, your ISP can only see that you’re online and connected to a VPN server. That’s it. Your information is encrypted and secured, which makes it completely unreadable to third parties.With a VPN, public WiFi hot spots are once again safe to use, thanks to secure encryption that protects your data. Using public WiFi without a VPN is risky because hackers can exploit public wireless to steal your identity, credit cards, bank accounts, and private data. A VPN will encrypt and protect this data from third parties and hackers.While it’s very difficult to be 100% anonymous online, here are a few things you can do to achieve a high level of online anonymity:

  • Use a good VPN that passes all leak tests.
  • Use a secure, privacy-focused browser (see the Firefox privacy guide for further tips).
  • Practice good privacy precautions (to get started check out the Simple Online Privacy Guide).

Now let’s take a look at VPN protocols and encryption.

Which VPN protocol to use?

A VPN protocol is basically a method by which a device creates a secured connection to a VPN server. So which VPN protocol is best to use?As a brief overview, there are four common VPN protocols in use today:

  • PPTP – Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is a basic, older VPN protocol with known security vulnerabilities. While it does provide good speed, it should probably be avoided due to security concerns.
  • IPSec / L2TP – Internet Protocol Security with Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. This protocol is more secure than PPTP, but it does not always have the best speeds. It is commonly used with mobile devices.
  • IPSec / IKEv2 – Internet Protocol Security with Internet Key Exchange version 2 is a fast and secure VPN protocol. It is automatically pre-configured in many operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS, and iOS. It works very well for re-establishing a connection, especially with mobile devices. The one downside is that IKEv2 was developed by Microsoft and is not an open-source project, like OpenVPN.
  • OpenVPN – Is an open-source project developed for multiple types of authentication methods. This is generally considered the most secure protocol with solid speeds. In many cases, this is the best VPN protocol to be using with a VPN service. (Most VPN providers will make this the default protocol, but double check when you’re connected to a VPN.)

Each VPN protocol has its own pros and cons. OpenVPN is the most popular and widely-recommended, because it is secure, open-source, and also offers good performance. But it also requires the use of third-party apps. L2TP / IKEv2 is also a secure protocol with excellent performance and it can be used natively without VPN apps. However, it relies on proprietary software.

VPN logs – different types

When it comes to privacy, it’s good to pay attention to logs and logging policies.Here are the different types of VPN logs:

  • Usage (browsing) logs – These logs basically include everything you do online: browsing history, times, IP addresses, metadata, etc. From a privacy standpoint, you should avoid any VPN that collects usage data.
  • Connection logs – Connection logs typically include dates, times, connection data, and sometimes IP addresses. Typically this data is used for optimizing the VPN network and potentially dealing with user problems or ‘terms of use’ issues. They key here is reading the fine print to see how the data is secured and deleted.
  • No logs – There are very few VPNs that truly meet the “no logs” criteria. Having a 100% no logs policy is very difficult to implement. This is especially the case when VPNs need to enforce restrictions such as bandwidth or the number of devices being used with the subscription.

Most VPNs will need to keep some form of logs if they’re enforcing any kind of limitations, such as device/connection limits or bandwidth limits (further explained here). Minimal connection logs that are secured and regularly deleted are not very concerning – but it all depends on the user.Also, keep in mind that there are some VPN services that will falsely claim to be “no logs” on their homepage, but then carefully disclose the data that is collected in their privacy policy. There have been cases where authorities obtained connection logs from “no logs” VPN providers. See PureVPNfor a notorious example.

VPN performance and speed 

When you’re using a VPN, a lot is going on behind the scenes. Your computer is encrypting and decrypting packets of data, which is being routed through a remote VPN server. All of this takes more time and energy, which will ultimately affect your internet speed.To ensure the fastest speed while using a VPN, it’s best to connect to the closest VPN server that fits your needs. For example, if you’re in the UK and want to watch blocked videos that are available to people in the United States, choosing a VPN server in New York is a good idea (rather than Los Angeles).A good VPN service should not affect your internet speed considerably. On the other hand, some of the lower-quality VPN services may significantly decrease your internet speed. This is often the case when their servers are overloaded with users.Tip: See if you can find a server status page for your VPN provider. This will give you an idea of network congestion and subsequent performance.For testing VPN speed and more of a discussion on all the different variables, check out the VPN test guide.

VPNs for streaming

Aside from online privacy and security, VPNs are also used by thousands of people around the world for streaming.Why is that?A VPN will unlock content that is geoblocked, censored, or restricted to certain geographic areas. Because a VPN gives you the ability to “tunnel” into any VPN server location, it remains the ultimate tool for online streaming. Here are a few popular streaming uses for VPNs:

  • Streaming Kodi through a VPN – see the Kodi VPN guide for additional information and tips.
  • Streaming sports with a VPN – for example, check out the World Cup 2018 live streams guide.
  • Streaming Netflix through a VPN – using a Netflix VPN is a great idea no matter where you live. For specific guides, check out the ExpressVPN Netflix and NordVPN Netflix test reports.

VPNs are also popular for torrenting, whereby VPNs protect people while they torrent various forms of media. See the best VPN for torrenting guide for additional information.

VPNs on phones and tablets

While VPNs have improved significantly on iOS and Android devices, they still don’t work quite as well as they would on a computer. The main reason for this is that using a VPN is a bit more complicated than typical applications, requiring connection to external servers, encryption, and decryption. Naturally, this is a bit more challenging on a phone which may go in and out of connectivity.The good news is that mobile device VPN applications are quickly improving, as is the processing power of phones and tablets. These developments are good for people who spend lots of time connected to a mobile device.One word of caution: avoid cheap or free VPN mobile apps. These apps are usually very “buggy” and will often be clogged up with advertisements, malware, or trackers, which further compromise privacy and security. Fake apps with ransomware are also becoming increasingly common. Just because an app is listed in the Google Play or Apple stores does not mean it’s safe.
    There'S  something called GEO LOCATION blocking and is where COUNTRIES block PEOPLE WHO LIVE outside their country from watching their content.   Just like USA blocks those people outside USA from accessing/watching USA content.   is technology that restricts access to Internet content based upon the user's geographical location. NETFLIX is BLOCKING Private browsing and also blocks VPNs.  Imagine U with a netflix subscription and traveling outside USA. U can't watch NETFLIX
     I'm going to look into Free PROTONVPN.   Experts warn about how bad a free VPN is or could be.  But I'm not talking about a 100% free VPN, which relies on selling your data and has bad speeds and you could get malware, etc.    I'M TALKING ABOUT a VPN that offers PAID and FREE VPN.   This one has no bandwidth limits.  


 

Using a VPN to Hide Your IP

Protecting your privacy online has become easier than ever. All thanks to the birth of the VPN technology. With a VPN, you can keep your connections secure anytime, and anywhere. For maximum online security, 


     I still prefer A PAYING VPN like NORDVPN for 3 years $99 because is great privacy and PRICE <<<CLICK HERE to visit their page and then come backhere<<<
 

     This other VPN I'm trying  now is great.  Is EXPRESSVPN $99 for one year, which also has free trial, but is ONE YEAR $99.  IT's rated #1 on most sites by experts and users <<<CLICK to visit their SITE and then come back here<<<.          


     I'LL LOOK INTO Proton vpn and see.   WHY?    I realize that many people browsing the NET might only want to turn on the VPN sometimes.   Maybe to watch blocked NETFLIX, YOUTUBE, HULU OR KODI, etc...  I'LL be  BACK with my thoughts->Maybe for minor, casual use is ok. BUT best protection is ALL THE TIME U go online!!!  


     PS.  I just  read about PROTON VPN and  found out bad things about it So, I'LL try to

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