What Is a VPN? And Why Do You Need One?

[UPDATED] The year 2020 has seen the shift of the world from face-to-face classes, businesses, and seminars to online schools, video conferences, and webinars. This led people to heavily rely on computers and internet connections.

Although exchanging information online is convenient, it comes with an inevitable exposure to online threats.

Using a standard internet connection working from home exposes your IP address. And an IP address is enough for cybercriminals to know your location and attack your network.

VPNs add a layer of data security beneficial for people who are working on sensitive data, or even to those who simply keep personal data in their computers. Therefore, using a virtual private network is highly recommended.

We will explain to you what a VPN can do, and why is it important for you to have one.

What is a VPN or Virtual Private Network?

A Virtual Private Network is a service that allows a user to establish an encrypted internet connection to protect sensitive data and ensure privacy. VPNs make your browsing activity private by hiding your IP address when using a network.

When connected to a network, your computer or smartdevice gets a unique IP address. Without it, mobile devices cannot communicate to one another. Thus, anyone who has access to your IP address can track your location and your online activity.

How Does a VPN Work?

With the help of VPN, the encrypted data traffic becomes difficult for third parties and hackers to intercept. Additionally, the VPN server masks you true IP address. Since you are using the IP address of the VPN server while surfing the internet, your original IP address will remain under the cover.

Here is a simplified explanation of how a virtual private network works:

  1. The VPN encrypts the data traffic from your device and transfers it to a VPN server through a completely secure connection.
  2. VPN server decrypts the encrypted data from your device.
  3. The server sends the data to the internet. It then receives a reply that is only meant to your computer.
  4. VPN server receives that data and encrypts it before sending it back to you.
  5. Your device decrypts the received encrypted data using the VPN software.

Reasons Why You Need a VPN

A virtual private network can easily secure your personal and official information from third parties or hackers.

  1. Online activity – VPN hides your browsing history from any third-party. Internet service providers, and the developer of your web browser tracks almost everything you do online. Some websites also record your activities, and web browsers can easily track your search history and connect the data collected from your IP address.
  2. IP Address and Location – a virtual private network masks your IP address to make you anonymous.
  3. Data Security – VPN creates an encrypted tunnel to transfer information to secure against online eavesdroppers.
  4. Unify your organization’s security – with the help of a virtual private network, an entire organization can be unified under an encrypted umbrella. This provides employees secure access to the main network through their own desktops, laptops, or smart phones.
  5. Secured connection in public – if you are using a public Wi-Fi, you become an easy target of hackers. Since a virtual private network encrypts your online data, and makes your IP address anonymous, hackers will not be able to access your device.

Best VPN Services of 2021

If you have no idea as to what VPN service you should use, below are the top 5 VPN services of 2021 according to CNET.

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. Surfshark
  3. NordVPN
  4. ProtonVPN
  5. IPvanish

Final Words

When you connect to the internet, you expose your confidential information and browsing activities. All these happen without you knowing it. Every click on a link gives websites, advertisers and even hackers, a glimpse of your information. That’s how internet works. However, you can do something to protect yourself. Use a VPN service and surf the internet with peace of mind.

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