Most of us use Wi-Fi every day to connect to the internet. Whether you’re in a coffee shop, airport lounge, or even your home, you’re usually within a few miles of a free Wi-Fi hotspot. While Wi-Fi is convenient and accessible no matter where you are, it’s not always the fastest way to get online. If you’re looking for faster speeds and fewer buffering delays, you may want to consider using a VPN.
What is a VPN? The acronym stands for Virtual Private Network, which describes a device or service that creates a secure tunnel through which you can securely access the internet.
Most VPNs are designed to work with all your devices, online and off. If you’re traveling, you can set up a VPN connection on your phone and access the internet through a secured connection even when you’re on the go. Once on the go, the VPN will hide your identity and keep you safe from online threats. A VPN can also be a useful tool when you’re online, preventing eavesdroppers, hackers, and government surveillance from snooping on your activities.
Many types of VPNs exist, but there are a few that rise above the rest. Here are four things to look for when choosing a VPN.
Whether you’re paranoid about your privacy or not, you must be concerned about the logs that your internet service provider (ISP) keeps. These logs record the sites you visit, the files you download, and even the amount of data you use. An ISP can’t see the content of your communications, but it can certainly see whether you visited a banned site or are trying to go over your data limit. Having this information logged and stored can make you a target for hackers and other online threats. For these reasons, you need to be sure that your chosen VPN prevents all logging and retains no logs of your activity. Even if you trust your ISP, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your personal security just to get your internet connection. A VPN can guarantee your anonymity and protect you from eavesdropping or traffic analysis. Even if your device is not connected to the internet when the VPN is activated, the logs will still be preserved.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
SSL, also known as ‘secure socket layer’, is a technology that has been around for more than 20 years and is used to create secure connections between your browser and a server. Most browsers support natively the SSL standard, which ensures encrypted traffic and prevents Man-in-the-Middle attacks. While the standard encryption is useful and prevents many types of eavesdropping, it is vulnerable to a Man-in-the-Middle attack. This type of attack can be used to decrypt the traffic and see everything you’re sending or receiving, including login credentials. To prevent this from happening, you need to use a VPN that supports the most advanced cryptography, has a strong encryption protocol, and utilizes a trusted certificate authority (CA) to verify the identity of the VPN server.
Another great thing about OpenVPN is that it is open source. This means that you have access to the code and can audit it to verify its security. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of blindly trusting a commercial entity, you can have confidence that an open-source project, such as OpenVPN, isn’t going to keep log files or sell your data to the highest bidder. When choosing a VPN, make sure that it is configured using the OpenVPN protocol and that the certificate authority is either trusted or verified by a third party such as Thawte, Symantec, or GoDaddy.
Most VPNs support multi-device logging, which means that your device can establish a secure connection to the VPN server even when other devices are connected. This is great when you’re on the go and want to continue using your device to access the internet even when you’re in another room or out of network coverage. To prevent other devices from overhearing your private conversations or accessing your personal information, you need to select a VPN that supports multi-device logins.
Nowadays, VPNs are a necessity for anyone who uses the internet. Whether you’re a professional working in an office or a student taking online classes, you will almost certainly have need of a VPN at some point. Inevitably, the question will arise: how much more bandwidth does a VPN use? Is it worth it? While it’s difficult to determine exactly how much bandwidth a VPN uses without having access to specific numbers, it’s safe to assume that it’s not an insignificant amount. In most situations, the answer is ‘yes’ – when compared to many other internet utilitiess, VPNs are a clear winner.
To get the best possible performance when streaming video or downloading large files, you will want to avoid using any of the above methods. Instead, you can use a tool referred to as ‘wireguard’ to create an isolated network within your device. When using this tool, you won’t need a VPN as it provides all the security you could need within a firewall. In addition, wireguard doesn’t use as much bandwidth as many other VPNs, which is a major plus when you’re on the go. Finally, wireguard is entirely open source, which means that you have full visibility of what is happening on your network. If you’re interested in trying out wireguard, the installation is easy and straightforward. From the Chrome store, you can install the WireGuard app and click ‘Connect’ to get started.