7 Things You Didn’t Know a VPN Could Do
You have most probably heard the word VPN about a dozen times by now. In the consumer space, it was primarily marketed as a tool that lets you unblock websites, but it’s now often closely marketed as a tool that provides privacy. And it’s true; a VPN does help you enhance your privacy on the internet. It’s the best tool that you can buy right now for a private internet experience.
The shift from VPN as a tool for unblocking websites to something that enhances privacy on the web could raise the suspicion that it’s simply a marketing trick meant to keep pace with trends that can sell. Consequently, it raises concerns over the technology itself.
However, navigating through all the marketing buzzwords, you can see that VPN is very much capable of delivering a private internet experience. Learning about how a VPN works can help you answer the lingering questions in your mind.
How Does a VPN Work?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a personal network that sits within the public web. It leverages the internet to create a private network space that can only be accessed with privileges. A VPN server acts as a central server through which all participants interact with each other.
A VPN for web browsing – as you normally do – would make the VPN server in charge of handling every internet request. It will act as a proxy for you. Destination websites interact with the VPN server, not you directly. This process gives you anonymity because the destination address is not reading your IP address. So you could be sitting in the United States, but connect to a VPN server in Singapore to mask your IP address and geographic location.
VPN uses encryption for security. It’s a complex process of hiding data by converting it plain-text into what’s called cipher-text. It will appear unreadable to anyone intercepting the data transmission. The only way to make it readable is through a key that is kept private between the client and the VPN server. It effectively hides the contents of the data packets as well as the destination addresses.
With all that information at your disposal, here are some of the ways VPN makes the internet experience private and more secure.
Bypassing Geo-Restriction and Censorship
VPN’s ability to act as a proxy opens up new possibilities. By spoofing the IP address, you can access content that would otherwise be unavailable outside its intended region. For example, Netflix’s content library is curated based on geographic location. So one movie or TV show available in the United States may not be available in another region on Netflix.
Similarly, it can bypass local censorship. Countries often block access to websites from within, leaving you unable to experience the internet at its fullest. It is true for countries such as North Korea, China, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, freedom of speech is severely limited in such countries, and speaking a different narrative could lead to severe consequences.
Hide Online Activities
Encryption is a key aspect of a VPN. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) is always monitoring user activity and has the power to log them. Because encryption adds a layer of security that can only be peeled off by the VPN server, the ISP cannot recognize what type of content you are consuming. VPN encrypts all types of traffic; HTTP, SMTP, FTP.
The ISP can only see that you are connected to a VPN server but cannot see the final destination.
Shop for Better Prices
Services often have prices that vary between regions. Emerging markets especially get special pricing to encourage sales. Airlines tickets are particularly popular in this regard. Buying a ticket online from a different country may let you save some money in the process.
Some online deals could be available for select regions. Using a VPN will allow you to appear as a resident of those countries and make the purchase.
Better Online Gaming
Online gaming requires low latency. Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for data to travel from your device to the destination. The longer the distance, the higher the latency will be.
VPNs generally do not help increase online performance because putting the VPN server into the equation adds another hop that data has to travel and back. But a VPN can fix performance issues that can occur from suboptimal routing.
Protection on Wi-Fi
You may not know this buy public Wi-Fi hotspots are quite vulnerable due to weak security. Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) is a notorious way for hackers to exploit the vulnerabilities that exist in such networks. A hacker can set up a fake Wi-Fi access point for you to connect. It will act as a proxy for you, monitoring everything that you send over the Wi-Fi. It can include personal information, banking details, and more.
Although most of the internet is now secured with HTTPS, the fact that the hacker is sitting in between without your knowledge is dangerous. It can redirect you to fake login pages designed to steal credentials. VPN’s encryption will ensure that your data stream is secured with end-to-end encryption.
Net Neutrality is the concept that access to the internet will be open and fair. It means that all kinds of web traffic will be treated the same. And that is how the internet has pretty much been for users. But the repeal of Net Neutrality laws in the United States in 2019 gives service providers the freedom to treat certain traffic differently.
A service provider can partner with a digital streaming service to give it access to what’s conceptually called fast lanes. Users accessing rival streaming services will experience slower speeds simply because the service provider is able to treat traffic differently.
VPN’s encryption prevents the ISP from knowing what service you are using. It also helps prevent bandwidth throttling to some degree.
Create a Private Network
It’s in the name. VPN allows you to create a private network on the public internet, where only people with privileges can access. The VPN server acts as a central entity that connects all users on the network, allowing them to communicate with each other.
During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, when everyone has been forced to observe work-from-home, VPN has bridged the gap between employees. It has allowed employees to use company resources such as shared folders by simply connecting to a VPN set up by the company.
A VPN Built for Ease of Use
There should be no doubt in VPN’s ability to keep your activities private. While setting up a VPN may be overwhelming for most people, iProVPN was built with that consideration. The iProVPN app is easy to install and simple to use. Connecting to a VPN server is as simple as clicking on a button.