VPN – or Virtual Private Network – is a protected network connection that is used to hide your IP addresses. The VPN works by creating a secret encrypted tunnel between your devices and the internet service provider, ensuring no one can see any activity happening inside the tunnel. Your search traffic will be redirected through several specially configured remote servers run by the VPN host. As your traffic is bounced between multiple servers, it is almost impossible to identify where it originated, or where it is destined for.
While surfing the internet on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, there is increased security risk as a malicious user active on that network could use the Wi-Fi network to tap into your device. From here they can identify what you’re doing, discover your browsing habits, and access your personal or sensitive information. In addition to keeping you safe online by securing your online connections, a VPN can make it possible to view content from other geographical regions, avoid online surveillance, and protect your identity from advertisers.
While it might be tempting to go with a free VPN – there are literally hundreds to choose from – the truth is that the free options often just aren’t up to scratch. Many free VPN aren’t as free as they seem – the tradeoff for using them is an endless stream of ads, or having your data sold. You’re much better off – and much safer – paying a little bit of money to use an effective product where you don’t have to sacrifice productivity or data.
For more information on how VPNs work, you can read this article: What Is A VPN And Does Your Business Need One?
We’re put together a list of seven effective VPNs that come at a surprisingly small costs. In this article we’ll explore background information for each vendor, delve into the features like strong encryption, IP address masking, no-logs policies, and expert support. We’ll then look at how these solutions are priced and give our insight into who would be best served by each VPN solution.
What Is A VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and acts like a secure tunnel between your device and a server. VPNs hide your IP address, meaning that no one – not even your internet service provider – can monitor your internet usage. Your device will connect with the VPN server, this will then, in turn, redirect you to the information that you need.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A VPN?
There are a number of security and privacy related benefits to using a VPN in both a personal and a work capacity.
- Prevent third parties from monitoring your internet usage – particularly useful for journalists who are operating in hostile environments
- Protects your device from malware distributed on an unsecured Wi-Fi connection
- Privacy from being monitored by the apps and services you use
- Access geographically restricted content
- Protect sensitive work materials when working remotely
- Save money – some subscription services or airlines offer different prices for users in different locations, a VPN can spoof your location to make it look like you are based there
Downsides Of Using A VPN
For all of the benefits of using a VPN, it is important to understand a VPN in its entirety so that you can make an informed decision.
- There may be a slight decrease in speeds – your web traffic has to be rerouted through the VPN server before reaching its intended location
- VPN usage is restricted (even illegal) in some geographical locations
- Some VPN services will monitor you activity – ensure yours has a robust “no-logs” policy
- If compromised, the VPN may automatically drop your connection – this will preserve your anonymity, but prevent you from operating