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What is a VPN, How is it Used, and Best Practices

Hacking, compromised data, and widespread breaches are on the rise. Learning what a VPN is and how to setup one on your device is your best bet to security within the web. Not only does it provide optimal protection, but VPNs grant users internet freedom that comes with unparalleled peace of mind. Here’s everything you need to know about the all-important highly beneficial VPN and what you can get out of a good VPN service.

What Does VPN Stand For?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network paves the way for you to connect to the internet via a VPN server. All data that travels between your computer, tablet or phone to the server run by your VPN provider is securely encrypted.

What Is A VPN Server?

When getting online, you primarily connect to your ISP or Internet Service Provider, which typically connects you to the websites you wish to visit. In this cycle, all internet traffic passes through their servers which can then be viewed by your ISP anytime.

Every bit of your internet activity can be kept secret once you know how to setup a VPN. The way it works is that you’ll be connecting to the VPN server or VPN tunnel built upon a minimum of 128-bit encrypted connection. All data sent and received between your computer and the tunnel/server is only visible to you and the VPN server.

Your ISP or government can merely determine a VPN server connection and nothing more as traffic is hidden to your benefit. Note that using a VPN service doesn’t substitute for an ISP which does its job of providing you with internet connectivity.

Benefits of Using A VPN

Virtual Private Networks empowers users in many ways:

  1. Respect For Privacy. Citizens have a legal right to privacy, that’s why VPNs are legal in most countries. Connecting to a VPN effectively hides your internet activities from your ISP and allows you to circumvent any government censorship.
  2. Geo-Spoof Your Location. A VPN lets users access services that they deem were unfairly denied due to their geographical location. It will look like you are accessing the internet from the VPN server’s IP address from another country rather than your ISP or computer’s IP address.
  3. Utmost Protection. You never have to worry about poor network security practices and hackers tricking you into the ‘evil twin’ hotspot whenever you use a public WiFi or hotel connection. Even if a cyber criminal somehow manages to intercept personal data, it remains safe and undecipherable.
  4. Stream and Download Away. Virtual Private Networks ensure torrent privacy and safety during P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing without worries of getting notices.
  5. Remote Networking. VPN remote IDs are also often utilized by companies to connect employees privately and give them access while protecting sensitive data transmitted via the encrypted VPN server.

VPN vs. Proxy – What’s The Difference?

Now you very well have a better understanding of VPNs, and you may find it very similar to a proxy. Both will connect you to a remote computer, conceal your identity, and spoof your geo-location as you wish. Well, they’re not the same.

Unlike VPN servers, proxy servers do not encrypt traffic that passes through and thus can accommodate simultaneous connections from tens of thousands of users.

Virtual Private Networks are set up at the operating system level, which means an entire network coverage of the device you’ve got VPN configured on. A proxy simply acts as a middleman for a particular application, i.e. your web browser or P2P client.

A VPN captures the traffic of all applications across your computer, from your search engines to online games to Windows Updates that are running in the background.

What is Proxy? How Does It Work?

Technically an open proxy, a ‘proxy server’ refers to a computer gateway between a local network (your computer) and a larger-scale network (the Internet). The proxy computer acts like a hub that processes web requests and any traffic routed through the proxy server will show its IP address as the origin.

Proxy servers communicate over the web using one of two protocols- HTTP or SOCKS. The first is ideally used for web surfing, with the protocol designed to interpret traffic at the HTTP level including web sites starting with Http:// or Https://. It’s crucial that you get online on an SSL-enabled browser and connect to sites that support SSL encryption. Otherwise, government surveillance systems and your ISP can still see what you are doing.

SOCKS protocol are flexible proxy servers which handle more traffic without having to interpret but are expectedly slower due to more overhead. IRC chat, POP3, and SMTP for emails, FTP for uploading files and torrent files are supported. A proxy can be easily set up on FireFox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Safari’s settings.

Should I Learn How To Setup VPN or Go With A Cheaper Proxy?

Public proxy servers are readily available but tends to go on and off-line which makes it unstable and unreliable. Speed varies hugely with the Proxy provider. Moreover, opting for a proxy means you give you entrust sensitive information to the owners of such anonymous servers, without guaranteed security nor support. Using free proxy servers are at your own risk.

There are private proxies that are more secure, and available for a fee. There’s also the web proxy which lets you connect to a public HTTP server and anonymously surf a website, without downloading or configuring anything. However, keep in mind that proxy servers only pass your information along. It will do for low-stake tasks such as watching forbidden Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube videos or bypassing parental content filters. For more serious concerns of protecting your identity and having much-needed privacy, VPN is the sole choice.

Free VPN vs. Paid VPN

Running a VPN service isn’t cheap, considering the great responsibility that comes with data protection and privacy. While Free Virtual Private Networks like a VPN for computer free download can be easily acquired, most can’t be trusted to not just sell your information and may even install third party applications on your device. There are also some reputable VPN server free providers but are mostly limited in terms of time and data. Free VPN downloads may suffice for casual users but are incomparable to the benefits of an excellent paid VPN service.

Paid VPNs offer both HTTP and the latest iteration SOCKS5 proxy servers. The better the VPN protocol and the remote hardware, the less overhead and the better performance you get. Choosing a paid VPN is based on trust as to which provider will keep no logs of all your internet usage, especially the most important, potentially damaging activities. Whether you want privacy while surfing the internet, want to download whatever you want, overcome a geo-block, evade government restrictions or prying eyes and data trackers, you can’t go wrong in learning how to setup a VPN.

Not only will you discover how to setup a VPN server, but will find it easy to obtain a VPN server address list and receive after-sales support with a paid VPN provider, i.e. Windows 10 VPN issues. VPN server software is highly versatile, arriving in different specifications to suit your needs:

Windows 7 VPN server – Connect to VPN Windows 7 via paid VPN server windows 7 or opt for VPN for Windows 7 free download.

Windows 10 VPN provider – Windows 10 VPN server is available in paid VPN server windows 10 and free VPN for Windows 10 version. Hotspot shield windows 10 and Cisco VPN for Windows 10 are also supported. Windows 10 built in VPN is a very useful windows VPN free feature.

VPN Settings for Android – You can set VPN server android on your tablets or smartphone using paid Android VPN server and VPN for android free download.

MAC VPN Server – Download Mac VPN software and best free van Mac or paid Mac VPN client. Setup VPN on Mac El Capitan, setup VPN on Mac Sierra, and PPTP VPN MacCare also supported.

Apple VPN Server – VPN iPhone free downloads include VPN iPhone 6, ios 10 PPTP VPN, free iPad VPN and VPN for other Apple devices.

For tablets and smartphones, it’s easy to learn how to create a VPN on Android and how to get VPN on iPhone free and paid alike.

How to Create a VPN

Setting up Virtual Private Networks usually, mean downloading and installing a VPN client on your device. Though configuring your computer may be necessary, technical skills needed are down to a minimum. The best VPN providers supply simple instructions and user-friendly step-by-step guides on how to setup VPN and how to use VPN afterward. In a matter of minutes, your internet activity and all else will be safely routed henceforth.

Each comprehensive yet easy-to-understand guide will help you effortlessly install VPN on your desktop computer, laptop, MAC, iOS and Android gadget right from the start until knowing how to turn off VPN on iPhone or other devices.

Here’s how to get and use VPN to your advantage:

How to get a VPN in 3 Steps

  1. Connect to the Internet. First of all, you don’t have a VPN just yet, so be careful where you connect to. It’d be wise to do it at home, but if you have to connect to a public Wi-Fi or public place, don’t forget to close sensitive applications such as your email.
  2. Download your preferred VPN. Head over to the VPN website and click the download button and follow the prompts to proceed with your free VPN or Paid VPN purchase. If you want to download the VPN directly to your smartphone, open your phone’s App Store or Google Play Store and search for the VPN, then click Install. If you need the VPN for work, it’s ethical to contact your company’s IT department to get the VPN server software.
  3. Install your choice of VPN Software. Locate the downloaded VPN file and proceed with the installation. Some VPNs are ready to use while others may require you to sign up with your email address and enter a few personal information. After successful signup, then you can log in, and the VPN server will be at your disposal.
Tip: Always read the terms of use to stay educated on what your VPN requires, what exactly it can provide you with, and the kind of information it might collect.

 

How to setup VPN on MAC:

On MAC computers, you’d usually run the .dmg file and will have to drag the VPN app to your Applications folder. For password protected computers, you’ll be asked to input the information before launching the VPN server.

How to setup a VPN Windows OS:

On Windows computers, you typically have to launch the .exe file and follow through on the prompts during installation. Once done, launch the VPN application from your Start menu.

How to setup VPN on Android free or paid version:

Go to your home screen and launch the VPN app. Login with your account and simply click the button to start using the VPN service.

How to setup VPN on iPhone for free or paid version:

Launch the VPN app on your iPhone. Login or create an account if you haven’t already, then start using your VPN service.

Now that you’ve created an account, logged into your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone VPN server, you can run your VPN to suit your purpose well. You can opt to launch the VPN app automatically and have the software connect to a random network at your convenience. You can specify when you wish to connect and how you want it done. Change your settings as you wish to have your VPN experience tailored to your preferences for worry-free, safe and secure internet use!