Bit of a long one, but we’ve had some questions so…
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for virtual private network, so in short terms – it is a service that protects your internet connection and privacy online from third parties like hackers, businesses, the government, and other snoopers. So – why would I need a VPN? If you use public Wi-Fi regularly, you want access to your content, you want to stay safe online, or if you game a lot – a VPN is a good idea.
Okay, then, what does a VPN do? It changes your IP and masks where you are virtually. It also encrypts your data and protects your devices from common internet hazards such as malware in downloaded files, web trackers, ads, and malicious links.
If you access a site without a VPN, you are connected to the site through your internet service provider (ISP). Your ISP automatically assigns you an IP address that is used to identify you to the website.
However, if you use a VPN and access a site, the website cannot see your original IP address, only the address of the VPN server – which is shared by those who use that provider and changes frequently.
Using a VPN also allows you to bypass “geo-blocking”, which is technology that restricts access to internet content based upon where your geographical location is. This is beneficial in allowing you to watch foreign films or shows and improves any buffering issues, allowing you to watch your shows more smoothly.
Decide to use a trustworthy VPN provider – one that is labelled as “free” isn’t safe or trustworthy at all. The free ones will track your online presence including what websites you visit, what you interact with and sell this information to the highest bidder. Besides how bad that is, a free VPN won’t properly encrypt you and that means you are more prone to IP and DNS leaks which could contain malware.
Like everything online, VPNs aren’t perfect and are still susceptible to malware and online attacks. If your VPN is infected, the security benefits can be compromised, so invest in a paid VPN with good reviews and be sure to check often that your VPN is still running smoothly.