This article breaks down the ins-and-outs of private internet access and VPN (or virtual private networking). So we’ll be looking at the best VPN services as well as looking at the pros and cons of free versus paid VPNs. We’ll also dig into what a VPN is and how it works (in layman’s terms). But first we’re going to start with why people use VPNs in the first place.
Who Can Benefit from Using a VPN?
VPNs afford people more peace of mind when accessing the internet. VPNs are popular amongst people who connect to public Wi-Fi networks (think your local coffee shop) because it is actually quite easy for hackers to snoop on your browsing activities on unsecured and untrusted networks.
People who want to block ads and/or want to stop websites from tracking them also use VPNs. In this instance, a VPN can provide an extra layer of security and privacy while browsing the web.
Employees of many businesses often use VPNs to connect to their work network while they are away (at home or traveling) so that they can do thinks like print from the office printers while out of the office.
Still others using VPN technology to unblock geo-restricted content (like on Netflix where some shows are blocked in certain regions) or to bypass internet censorship.
Of course there are shady reasons to use a VPN as well.
What is a VPN and How Does It Work?
As previously mentioned, a VPN is a virtual private network (or it could also be used as virtual private networking).
Just like every house has a physical address, every computer (whether it’s a laptop, a mobile phone or a gaming console) has a digital address: it’s IP address (or Internet Protocol address). Put very simply, a VPN masks your IP address.
When your computer “talks to” other computers (when you do things like surf the internet, send emails or stream content) it needs to know the IP address of those other computers and the other computers need to know your computer’s IP address as well.
But if you don’t want to share your IP address — which can let others track you or restrict the information that your computer can access — then you can use another IP address, via a VPN, to connect. So instead of going straight to your internet destination, you traffic can isntead take ...