What is a VPN and Why is it a Good Idea?

A virtual private network, or VPN, can help secure your web browsing and protect your anonymity online from anyone who wants to steal or monetize your data. A VPN creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server operated by a VPN service. All external internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so your data is secure from prying eyes. Best of all, your computer appears to have the IP address of the VPN server, masking your identity.

To understand the value of a VPN, it helps to think of some specific scenarios in which a VPN might be used. Consider a public Wi-Fi network, perhaps at a coffee shop or airport. Like many of us, you might connect to it without a second thought. But do you know who might be watching the traffic on that network? Can you even be sure the Wi-Fi network itself is legitimate, or could it be controlled by a hacker who's after your personal data? Think about passwords, bank account data, credit card numbers, and private information that you transmit every time you go online.

If you connect to that same public Wi-Fi network using a VPN you can be certain that no one on that network will be able to intercept your data.

VPN clients are basically the same for both Windows and MacOS. But that's not always the case. While the apps are similar in look and function regardless of mobile platform, iPhone VPNs often use different protocols than their Android counterparts. This is fine for the most part, however. In some cases, it may offer an advantage, as iPhone developers do the extra legwork Apple requires to use newer, more robust protocols. Most companies offer VPN apps for Android and iOS.

Source: PC Magazine, December 18, 2017.

TechRadar has reviewed and compiled a list of the The best VPN services for 2018.


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