A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network of computers that connects to the internet via a private connection rather than a public one. A VPN makes it possible for you to access and send data over the internet with complete security and anonymity, just like you would on your local network. You can use VPNs to make your internet connection more private, secure, and efficient.
The following are the security benefits of using a VPN:
- Anonymous surfing – since your traffic is routed through a private VPN connection, your online activity cannot be tracked
- Extra protection – the encryption algorithms used by VPNs make it highly unlikely that your personal information will be intercepted, even if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is compromised
- Increased safety – since your connection is not authenticated or addressed by your ISP, you are less likely to encounter malware on websites you visit
- Safeguards your personal data – since your IP (Internet Protocol) address is not exposed to the public, third parties cannot track your activity
- Protects your computer from hacking – as your computer connects to a VPN server, it acts like a firewall protecting you from threats including:
- Malware – malicious software that can damage your device
- Phishing – when an email or other social media link is misdirected to trick you into giving out personal information
- Reputation threats – where you or a business you are doing business with is the target of malicious behavior such as threats or vandalism
- Efficient – since your Internet Service Provider (ISP) does not have to worry about managing the connection, it can focus on other aspects of network management
- Choice of server location – as there is no geographical limitation to what a VPN can offer, you get to choose from a large number of servers globally to meet your needs
- Data compression – since your traffic is being compressed as it travels over a private connection, you will experience superior download speeds
How Do I Set Up My VPN?
To get started you will need:
- A computer or mobile device – any device that can connect to the internet will work
- A strong wifi connection – since your computer is connected to the internet via a private connection, the speed of your online connection will determine the quality of your VPN experience
- A stable internet connection – if your internet connection is interrupted often, it will negatively impact your VPN experience
- A credit card – to purchase the necessary subscription or set up a payment plan
On a computer, to set up your VPN you will need to go to the Settings app and select Network & Internet. From here you will see a list of your available network connections; depending on what plan you are on, you may see more than one.
If you are using WiFi and it connects you to a VPN server at the access point, you will see a little shield with a v in the middle of it next to your SSID (Service Set Identifier). When you connect to a VPN server, you will see a similar logo followed by the word VPN in the status bar at the top of your screen.
Once you have connected to a VPN server, you should see the following icon:
This is the icon that indicates you are connected to a VPN. You should see this icon anytime you are connected to a VPN server, even when you are not using it. If you do not see this icon, then you are either connected to the internet via a public connection or your internet connection is unstable which can seriously impact your VPN experience.
Why Do I Need A VPN?
If you are wondering why you need a VPN, then the following are a few reasons: