As we all know the Internet is a vast place of seemingly infinite amounts of knowledge and information, no one has ever discovered every corner of it!
Though with all great and good things, there are always people that want to take advantage of it… At the cost of others, stealing their information and credentials.
Much of being taken advantage of is at the cost of your information, even if you think you have nothing to hide, you couldn’t be more wrong.
But you might be asking now: “What the hell is a VPN?”
What is a VPN?
The acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and you can imagine it as an additional section between you and your targeted site you want to browse.
It creates an alternative connection through another server that usually takes care of encrypting your data and thus make your connection secure.
Additionally, since your connection goes through another server at first that means that your desired site does NOT know who you are and where you are from because they can only see the VPN’s IP address and location.
To sum it up, it makes you really hard to track down in any way, difficult to target advertisements towards you, difficult to read your credentials and gives you more freedom if you happen to be in one of the countries that do not like you to have the information they don’t want you to have.
Interested? Please read on!
How do I access a VPN?
There are tons of VPN services out there, really good ones but also some you really don’t want to have on your phone.
“Free” VPN services
Sure you want to save money, everybody wants to, but I really need to warn you about any free VPN services for simple but strong reasons:
- they gather your information to sell them
- some might even contain straight-up malware
- even more, like to display ads (especially on mobile)
As they say, nothing comes ever for free, you basically pay with your information like the sites you visit, how long and many more.
Sometimes going even so far to defeat the purpose of a VPN if you use it to conceal your location which they obtain through your IP address compromising your security completely.
Additionally, they have no incentive to protect you or give you a good service whatsoever because they do not rely on single costumers, they usually start mass campaigns for their own application, gather lots of user data and let their application die to repeat the process all over again.
Lastly, they get you to buy their “premium” service, sometimes with predatory methods like push notifications or mails sent to your registered e-mail.
It should make think about using “free” VPN services twice.
To conclude, I might be generalizing here, but do not ever use a free VPN service under any circumstances, it’s the worst thing you can do in my opinion.
Paid VPN services
Paid VPN services, on the other hand, have an incentive to keep their customers happy and establish trust with them, of course, you pay for their service after all!
They also usually give you plenty of quality of life options and are often trusted companies a lot of people like and support.
Most paid services include:
- more server locations and better servers
- no data limit or bandwidth limits
- are usually updated
- have great customer support
- clear policies in what they save
- a “kill switch”, that cuts your internet when the VPN goes down
- …and many more depending on the provider
Only a fragment of the features are usually in “free” VPN services and even if they do they are poorly implemented or straight up don’t work even if you buy their so-called “premium” service.
All in all paid VPNs are usually a no-brainer compared to the free variant.
However, as with all things you should compare various VPN services and services by price, user ratings, features and trustworthiness.
Should I always use VPNs?
There are situations where a VPN can actually hinder your day at times, it doesn’t happen a lot but can happen.
Some services do not allow connections through known VPNs and usually, just reject them.
Sometimes online games like to reject or do not function correctly with VPN connections, in these cases you have to turn it off or not play the game.
You should especially use them if you are connected to a public wifi network since these are valuable points for attackers that make your connection highly invulnerable since nothing is encrypted.
With a VPN service, the connection between your device and their servers is completely encrypted and safe.
Are VPNs impenetrable?
As positive as I sounded before, VPNs do not make you invulnerable to outside attacks or other misuses because remember, only the connection between you and the VPN server is actually encrypted unless there are other security measurements, this is actually a big deal.
If you type in personal information in a form only having a VPN service for your protection, someone who is listening to the VPN traffic can still determine who you are and what your credentials are if you do so on an unsafe site (such as no HTTPS).
Even with a VPN, you should be careful about what you do if you don’t want your security to be compromised.
A VPN alone cannot guarantee 100% security.
Controversies around logs
When people refer to logs in connection with VPNs, they mean certain pieces of data on the company’s servers that include information about you, so even if your target site doesn’t know who you are, the VPN company does for sure if they log your activities.
The problem is trust, it’s hard to verify, though possible to do so.
A few selected VPN providers requested auditors to check up on them if they hold their “no-log policies” and those who do usually get positive results.
VPNs are certainly useful enough to consider them in your life, especially if you live in a country with certain restrictions or in public networks.
So if you travel a lot they are pretty good for you.
But even for people who don’t travel, they can do good such as preventing companies to use your data for personalized objectives.
So I absolutely recommend using them!
However, do not use “free” VPN services, just no, please.
That’s it people of the Internet!
Feel free to leave a comment down below. Feedback, either negative or positive is always welcome, so are suggestions!
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See you around and surf safely!
Do not use “free” VPN services