If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a privacy enthusiast or at least somewhat interested in online security. And if that’s the case, then you might be surprised to learn just how much effort goes into maintaining a private digital life online. For those who want to keep their personal information secure while browsing the web, establishing a VPN connection is the answer. Here’s a closer look at what makes up a VPN, the various types of VPNs available, and how secure they really are.
What Is a VPN?
Even though virtual private networks (VPNs) have been around for several years, lots of people still don’t know what they are or why they’re important. A VPN is a tool that allows users to create private, encrypted connections or “tunnels” between themselves and various resources, including the websites they visit. By default, these tunnels allow users to keep their personal information private and secure when they’re online, which is why VPNs are commonly used by consumers to protect their personal data while browsing the web. In addition to maintaining privacy, VPNs allow users to access restricted content or services that their ISP might otherwise block.
Types of VPNs
VPNs can be implemented in several ways, and each method has its perks and drawbacks. The most common type of VPN is the virtual private server (VPS), which provides a secure connection through a third party that hosts the server. VPSs are easy to set up and manage, and thanks to their flexibility, lots of developers and businesses use them. However, as a consumer, you’re unlikely to encounter a VPS, since most VPN providers offer dedicated IP addresses that are assigned to your account. Another common type of VPN is the software-based VPN, which uses strong cryptographic protocols to protect your personal information. Unfortunately, these types of VPNs are difficult to set up and require time to learn how to use effectively.
Which Is Better?
It’s a common misconception that one type of VPN is clearly superior to another. Just because one type of VPN is more popular than another doesn’t mean that it’s the better solution. It all depends on your specific needs and how you plan to use the VPN. If you have a specific need to secure your identity while browsing the web, then you should probably opt for a dedicated IP VPN, since they provide the most effective protection. If speed is a concern and you don’t have a specific need for anonymity, then you can opt for a standard VPN, which are much more convenient to use.
How Secure Are VPNs?
Thanks to the evolving nature of the cybersecurity industry, VPNs continue to improve in security every year. New protocols and algorithms are constantly being developed to protect your data as much as possible while being as convenient to use as possible. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look back at how secure VPNs were in 2016 and the efforts made by the industry to improve security in future releases. In 2016, the most popular and least-secure type of VPN was the shared IP VPN, which provides a dedicated IP address that is shared with other users. This type of VPN allows the ISP that provides your connection to track your activity, which in turn makes the information you share more susceptible to hacking and data breaches. The good news is that since 2016, the shared IP VPN has become less popular and more secure alternatives have emerged.
How Long Does It Take To Set Up A VPN?
The moment you decide to set up a VPN is the moment you should start planning how long it will take to actually do so. Every VPN is different, and there are several factors that can slow down the process, including your connection speed and the server load. To give you an idea of how long it will take to set up a VPN, here are some rough averages:
- VPSs: About an hour
- PPTP VPNs: Three to four hours (plus an initial set up time)
- L2TP/IPSec VPNs: Two to three hours
- OpenVPN: One to two hours
Nowadays, VPSs are relatively easy to set up, since most providers offer one-click installations. The same goes for PPTP and L2TP/IPSec VPNs. However, OpenVPN is a bit more complicated, since you have to manually install a desktop client on your own computer.
Is It Worth It To Use A VPN?
In short, yes, it is. Using a VPN is essential for maintaining your online privacy and security, whether you’re an individual or a business. Without a VPN, all of the information you share online is exposed to potential hackers and data thieves. Even worse, if you use public Wi-Fi when you’re connected to the internet, all of your data could be snooped on without your knowledge.
VPNs might be more convenient for individuals who want to keep their personal data private while browsing the web, but they’re also the most effective type of protection against hackers and data thefts. As you can see, VPNs improve your security by allowing you to connect to a trusted entity, which in turn provides you with an additional layer of protection. If you’re worried about your personal information being stolen, you should probably opt for a dedicated IP VPN or try out one of the other more secure and popular VPNs.