If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either considering buying a VPN, or you have one already and aren’t entirely happy with the service.
Let’s start from the beginning. What is a VPN, how does it work, and what purposes do I need it for?
What is a VPN?
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) allow for secure and private connections between two or more devices or computers.
The private aspect of a VPN means that only the connected computers can access the data being transmitted. This keeps your personal information secure and private when connected to public networks like Wi-Fi or a cafe’s ethernet.
The secure aspect of a VPN means that the data being transmitted can’t be read by anyone aside from the intended recipient. This prevents impersonation and eavesdropping by hackers and malware.
There are many different types of VPNs, ranging from simple to advanced. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll cover disabling a simple VPN and configuring our Wi-Fi network to communicate securely without the need for a VPN.
How Does VPN Work?
A VPN client, such as PPTP or L2TP, resides on your computer or mobile device. When you connect to a VPN, they’ll assign you a secure IP address that is allocated from a private pool of IPs.
Your VPN client then communicates with the VPN server, which is typically hosted on a remote datacenter. The server takes the encrypted data from the VPN, and returns it to your device in a scrambled and unreadable form. So even if someone manages to intercept the data while it’s in transit, they’ll have a really hard time making sense of it, as it will be encrypted and scrambled.
To be able to communicate securely, the two devices or computers that are communicating must first establish a secure communication channel. This is typically done through the use of a TLS/SSL (Transport Layer Security / Secure Sockets Layer) connection. Once the secure connection is established, the two parties can establish an unencrypted session, and begin sending each other application-level data.
Why Do I Need a VPN?
Depending on your computer software and settings, you may not need a VPN at all. However, there are several situations where a VPN will come in really handy.
If you have a public WiFi network at the airport or coffee shop, for example, you’ll want to connect to a VPN to prevent others from snooping on your online activity. When you’re on public WiFi, the device you’re connecting to can monitor and log your network activity. So this could include viewing your emails, browsing history, and more.
If you use public WiFi at work, you’ll want to protect your company’s intellectual property by encrypting and securing all your communications. Otherwise, any unscrupulous employee could be laying down the digital tracks to your company’s next big technological achievement.
If you use public WiFi at home, you’ll want to protect your personal information and online activity from prying eyes. You could use a VPN to ensure that your personal information is kept secure when you use public WiFi at home. You can also use a VPN to ensure that your online activity, when connected to public WiFi, is secure and private.
In some situations, you may want to use a VPN and avoid using a public WiFi network altogether. If you have sensitive information to share, or want to remain anonymous while on the internet, you can use a VPN to ensure that your personal information is kept secure. You can also use a VPN to browse the web anonymously.
How Do I Enable or Disable the VPN on My Computer?
You can enable or disable the VPN on your computer by going to its control panel. Most VPNs have a setting that enables you to either connect automatically when you log on, or to only connect when you explicitly request a VPN connection.
To connect to a VPN on login, go to its control panel, and select the option to connect on login. To connect only when you explicitly request a VPN connection, go to its control panel, and select the option to connect only when the network is requested.
You can also go into your network settings to manually configure your VPN. In many cases, your VPN’s control panel will have a setting that allows you to specify a static IP address. This IP address will remain the same regardless of whether you’re connected to a VPN or not. If you have a dynamic IP address (assigned by your ISP), you can use this guide to find out how to make your laptop’s IP address more stable.
How To Disable the VPN On My Computer (Static IP)
If your computer or device has a static IP, you can use this guide to disable the VPN. Simply enter the IP address of your internet service provider in the appropriate field, and tap the button to save.
Make sure that you have a good understanding of what a static IP is, and what it means for your computer or device. Not sure? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to establish a static IP on your computer.
Establishing a Static IP on Your Computer
To establish a static IP on your computer or mobile device, you’ll need to visit your local library or bookstore and purchase a simple beginner’s guide to network administration. Alternatively, you can use this online resource from Cisco to establish a static IP in less than five minutes.
Once you have the guide, follow these steps to establish a static IP on your computer.
- Go to Network settings
- Click the + symbol
- Enter the IP address you want in the IP field
- Click OK
- You’ll now have a dynamic IP
Disabling the VPN on My Computer (Manual)
If you have a Dynamic IP address, you can use this guide to disable the VPN on your computer. Simply enter the IP address of your internet service provider in the appropriate field, and tap the button to save.
Once you have a static IP, you can go back into your VPN and disconnect from the network. You can also use this guide to re-enable the VPN on your computer if you decide you want to use it again.
Reasons to Disable the VPN
Let’s say you’re planning on using a public WiFi network at a coffee shop, but you don’t want to be tracked by the coffee shop’s owner. You don’t have to – you can simply disable the VPN, and continue using the network as you normally would.
You can also use a VPN to access resources that are not available on your network. Maybe you want to watch a DVD on the netflix, or you need to research information for school. In these situations, you don’t want to use a public network, so you can set up a VPN and connect to a private library or academic network.
If you have a business that you don’t want to share with the world, you can use a VPN to establish a secure connection to your server, and download and upload files as necessary.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a VPN is, and why you’d want to disable it on your computer or device. If you’re planning on buying a VPN, consider the implications and possible disadvantages. If you have a VPN, consider how you can configure it to fit your needs. If you’re not happy with your VPN, consider switching providers or service. And finally, if you have a WiFi network at home, consider protecting it with a VPN to ensure that your personal information and online activity remain secure when you’re there.