Long gone are the days where the internet was anonymous and completely private. Today, social media tech conglomerates, ISPs, email servers, and even third-party websites collect and store data. And with that, all your personal information.
With the rise of online piracy, privacy breaches, and hacking attempts of both large and small businesses, millions are turning to VPNs or Virtual Private Networks. Obtaining a VPN is one way to mask your online identity. Whenever you are browsing the internet, whether you are researching a topic, sending files, or even logging in to your online bank account.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is a tool and solution used by individuals who are seeking complete and total anonymity while browsing online. A VPN uses a private network to help mask identities of those on traditional public or home networks. Additionally, a VPN also helps to establish encrypted and secured connections that mimic private connections for the ultimate protection against privacy invasion and online hacking attempts.
Are VPNs Legal and Safe to Use?
VPNs are currently legal throughout the US, however, they are not legal in all countries around the world. It is essential to determine whether or not a VPN is legal in your home country before choosing a VPN service to use while you are online.
Additionally, a VPN does not exonerate an individual from the risks of committing a crime or partaking in illegal activities, even with the use of a VPN in place. All criminal and illegal activities are still considered as such, even with the use of a VPN.
Do I Need Computer Programming Experience to Use a VPN?
One of the biggest draws and benefits of using a VPN is its ease of use and overall accessibility. You do not require programming experience or knowledge in order to use a VPN. Anyone who regularly browses the internet has the ability to learn about and get acquainted with VPN services within just a few minutes. To get started with a VPN service that you can trust, rely on, and get started with immediately, learn more about VPN services and download here.
What Devices Can I Use a VPN On?
VPN solutions can be used on a myriad of devices, providing maximum protection on everything you use you browse the internet, regardless of how you choose to do so each day. The device operating systems that can currently be used with a VPN service in place include:
- Windows 10
- Windows 8
- Windows 7
- AsusWRT Merlin
- PF sense
- FireTV stick
- Raspberry Pi
Devices such as smartphones (Android and iOS), laptops/desktops, tablets, and even Firesticks and Blackberry phones can all be used alongside a VPN, if the VPN service is compatible with your preferred device.
Using a VPN Across All Devices
Before you can begin using a VPN, you will likely require a VPN manager, such as Open VPN or VPN Manager. However, if you choose to use a paid service that provides a subscription and included VPN software, you can create your account and set up your VPN in less time, allowing you to get started nearly immediately without any hassle.
Setting Up a VPN on a Desktop or Laptop Computer
- Once you have chosen the VPN provider that is right for you, create and setup your account with your selected VPN software solution.
- Follow the guided instructions to download and installed the VPN software that is provided to all customers of the VPN solution itself. Only download VPN software directly from the official website of a VPN provider. Verify that the website you are using is authentic and legitimate with proper spelling before downloading and installing any new software onto your computer’s hard drive.
- Log into the downloaded VPN software using your newly created username and password that was used for your VPN account.
- Select a VPN server: This step is optional in some cases, as selecting a specific VPN server is not always required or desired. VPN servers are often located in specific countries, providing you with more options of where you want your IP address to originate. For instance, if you are currently living in the US but you are interested in streaming content that is only available in Ireland using a service such as Netflix, you may choose to select a VPN server that is currently hosted in Ireland. If you are not concerned about the origin country of your VPN IP address, you can also opt to automatically generate a VPN server, which is typically one that is closest to you at the time of connection.
- Activate the VPN: Within the VPN software of your choice, Turn On or Activate the VPN with the click of your mouse. Most VPN software solutions include a large button or text option to quickly turn on your VPN within just a few seconds after you click, allowing you to immediately begin using the service once it has been activated.
- Browse: Once you have activated and turned on your VPN, you can begin browsing and surfing the internet with complete anonymity knowing that your personal data and private information is protected, encrypted, and secured.
Setting Up a VPN on Windows 10
If you are not using VPN provider with downloadable software or if you prefer to install and activate your VPN service manually on a Windows 10 device, such as a computer, you can do so by completing the following steps:
- Access the Settings of your computer or search for Settings in your search bar up booting up your computer
- Select Network & Internet
- Choose VPN in your Network & Internet settings
- Select Add a VPN Connection
- Locate VPN Provider and enter in your VPN information and network details necessary to activate your VPN subscription or service.
Once you have successfully entered your VPN protocol and network information, your VPN connection should be readily available. Click on the Wi-Fi icon from your Windows 10 device and select your newly created VPN connection to connect safely and securely to the internet using an encrypted connection with your VPN.
Setting Up a VPN on an Android Phone
- Access the settings of your Android phone (you may need to refer to a manual or guide based on the model of your Android phone).
- Open the Wireless & Networks section of your phone, or the WiFi & Internet menu.
- Select VPN. If this option is not yet available, search for a More button to locate your VPN settings.
- Complete the required fields by entering your VPN provider username, password, and other network details requested to connect to your current VPN.
Setting Up a VPN on an iOS Phone
- First, unlock your iOS device (which includes both iPhones and iPad tablet devices) and navigate to your Settings.
- Select General followed by VPN to instantly gain access to your device’s VPN settings.
- Once your VPN settings have opened, select Add VPN Configuration.
- Your VPN settings such as your preferred server along with your remote ID and authentication login information should be provided by your current network administrator and VPN service.
- After all of the proper information is in place, select Done to save your VPN settings to your iOS device.
Is a VPN Right for Me?
Do you browse the internet for news, email, or even to connect with friends and distant relatives? Have you ever shopped online or ordered a product from a new third-party website or brand? Have you experienced identity theft or someone attempting to use your password to login to an account fo yours?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, a VPN is right for you.
With the rise of online hacking attempts, data breaches, and identity theft, protecting yourself from legal and financial risk has never been so important. With millions of targeted scams and attacks occurring every year around the world, protecting your personal and private data should be a top priority at all times.
Using a VPN allows you the ability to browse the internet without the fear of becoming a target of a hacker or data thief. Additionally, having a VPN is also a way for you to remain anonymous, safe, and secure, even when you are accessing your email’s inbox, bank account, or social media sites.
You can also use a VPN when traveling or when working on the go, providing you with even more security and protection while handling work files and communications. With the use of a VPN, browse the internet, stream media, and communicate with ease from any location, even while traveling or using a public WiFi connection.
How Do I Find a VPN?
Before settling on a VPN service, it is important to compare your options and to consider your own needs when it comes to browsing online and how you use the internet each day. The right VPN service will be reliable and trustworthy and provide reviews and testimonials to help you with making your decision.
Compare features as well as device compatibility to determine which VPN solution is best for your needs as well as the devices you and those in your household use on a regular basis.
Masking your identity with the use of a reliable and trustworthy VPN is one of the quickest and easiest methods to truly protect yourself whenever you are online. Whether you are sending files to coworkers, streaming media, or even logging into a website with your email address and password, a VPN is one way to ensure your security and protection at all times.