VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and as the name says, it is a private online network where you can connect remotely from any internet connection, like at home or at work.
In a basic day to day Internet browsing experience, an user connects to a wi-fi that has a router that connects to the local Internet provider, for example Virgin Media, Vodafone, etc. In this case, usually the information exchanged and the IP address (your PC) is easily traceable and eventually anybody may know what you do on the Internet. Usually when you are browsing online, for safety reasons, an Internet Provider has to keep a log of websites and IP addresses. So you are leaving traces of what you browse online, like the browser history but in this case it cannot be cleared. This because you are using a direct connection from your PC to the Internet Provider Network.
Using a VPN instead, is like you are connected to another computer (different IP address) and only that computer is tracked. This means your identity is shielded from your activity, therefore your privacy is 100% guaranteed.
Just for the record, a VPN is used also in a corporate environment. For example multinational companies have offices in Dublin, Palo Alto, Italy, France so all their users can connect to a single private network to access tools and programs and communicate to other departments around the world maintaining at the same time 100% security.
Why Should I Use a VPN?
Coming back to us in a more personal use, there are several reasons why you need to use a VPN.
1) Security: a VPN encrypts data and also hide yourself from being exposed to the Internet. As you are connected to a private server rather than directly to your Internet Service Provider you are protected from hacker attacks or other forms of stolen data.
2) Anonimity: As the data are encrypted and your PC is not exposed to the Internet, you are not identified and neither your personal data. It is like you are driving remotely the Curiosity rover on Mars. They just see the rover not you.
3) Freedom: Using a VPN you can connect to a server that resides to the other part of the globe and being seen as you reside there (using their local IP address). For example if you like me you live in Ireland and you want to watch an on demand TV show from Canada, like HGTV you can do so using a VPN. Otherwise you will get the classic message “Sorry, this content is only available in …”
But using a VPN the story is different.
Other examples of benefits from using a VPN
- You can browse and eventually order items that are not available in your Country. Example you can browse an American online store. Ok, they might not ship to your Country but certainly you can see the items and their prices.
- Search for flight or hotel offers that are available only to certain countries. Also depending from what Country you are browsing, the room rates are different.
- Watch American Series on Netflix, Hulu or other U.S. TV on demand services that usually don’t show here in Europe. Yes you can do it!
What VPN I am using?
I have tried different VPN and currently I am using PureVPN (external link to the website) which I rekon is very affordable and you can use up to 5 devices at the same time. This means that while you buying for you, you can also let it use to your girlfriend, wife or children. Why not, you can also give it to your friend. They have over 2,000 servers around the World covering over 180 locations, and they don’t keep track of your activity. It supports almost any operating systems and devices from Windows, Linux to Android. They have apps you can download, for example Android and IOS to launch your VPN on the go as well as plugins to install into your browser, example for Google Chrome or Firefox. How cool is that?
This is an image of my Google Chrome browser add-on
As you can see it is really simple to use. You just need to select a Country or a City to connect and click “Connect”. You will be immediately transported to the Country selected.
I personally purchased the 12 months service at a total price of 35 Euro which is less than 3 Euro / month to protect you identity, browse securely and being able to watch your favourite American TV shows online.
Please be aware that this is my personal review and I haven’t being paid to write this article. I wanted to bring you the attention on how today is important to browse safely, avoiding stolen data or tracking your Internet activities. If you have tried other VPN services and you are happy with that, please let me know and I will share in this page too.