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What is a VPN and its Importance in the Online World

What is a VPN and Importance of VPN in the Online World

A VPN is a tool that provides you with security and anonymity online. They have been around in some form or the other since the past decade, but only recently have we realized just how necessary their usage has become.

For most people, VPN would seem like an option they could go for if they are a bit wary of their security online or even paranoid; however, that isn’t the case anymore.

This is because both the intensity of threats and the spread they affect have grown exponentially over the years. With the advent of more personalized devices like smartphones and laptops, users are now generating more private data than ever, making them enticing targets for those who want to either control or steal from them.

In previous years, internet safety was mainly relegated to jargon terms like cybersecurity, and it was thought that they are only of interest to entities like large organizations, etc. VPNs, too, were not so commercial back then. However, in today’s era, users finally realize the importance that VPNs can have in guaranteeing them a safer internet experience.

Use a VPN to Protect Yourself on the Internet

For those of you who still don’t know, VPNs protect internet users by first encrypting their data packets and by transferring those packets through safe tunnels, which are called protocols.

Nowadays, VPNs use AES-256 military-grade encryption, which cannot be deciphered by anyone, not even the best of hackers. For the protocol, they mostly use OpenVPN, a community-sourced project that makes it highly secure as any leaks or vulnerabilities are taken care of quickly and independently.

But still, there is a lot more to VPNs than just encryption and protocols, and that’s because, as time has passed, VPN providers have made their tools more robust and user-friendly to make them highly more accessible for newbies use and deploy.

Modern-day commercial VPNs come with multiple simultaneous connections, hundreds or even thousands of servers, dedicated client apps for popular devices and OS, live chat support, and more.

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And as the internet realm has diversified so much lately, VPNs now also cater to specific security demands by adding user-specific features like DDOS protection for gamers, geo-restriction unblocking for entertainment fans, and more.

However, protection against threats is still the number one reason you should deploy a VPN.

Here are some significant security threats that a VPN can fend off quite easily:

MITM Attacks:

MITM or Man in the Middle attacks are more common than you know, and the attackers behind this feat usually operate on places where they can access the network connections of many users like Public Wi-fi.

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MITM attacks are one of the most severe forms of security threats that you can be subject to. In such an attack, the attacker can eavesdrop on your connection, alter your messages and intercept them. This can lead to your financial data like Bank Pin and Password being stolen, among other worst-case scenarios.

Using a VPN will guard your connection from such attacks by not allowing the attacker to invade your relationship.

Torrenting and Kodi Support:

For those of you who are avid users of platforms related to Torrenting or Kodi, you might know that many types of content that you can watch on such platforms can be copyrighted, which if you have accessed without permission, can land you up in jail or incur you a hefty fine.

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While copyright violations have done on purpose are certainly against the law, not every user goes through the copyright laws governing each piece of content. If even unknowingly, it accesses such a media, copyright trolls could sniff the user out and make it face financial or legal litigation.

Most people who now use both platforms urge other people to deploy a VPN before indulging in any related activity. Even if they access a copyrighted media file, their actual location won’t be found by anyone. Hence, they won’t be facing acceptable or legal litigation. Some of the best torrenting sites suggest using a VPN when downloading content from third-party websites.

Bypassing Internet Censorship and Snooping:

Since social media and even the internet, to a large extent, are built upon the principles of free speech, many governments seek to ban sites that don’t comply with their guidelines on what kind of content shouldn’t be available to people living in their countries.

This internet censorship is sometimes light and doesn’t encompass too many sites. Still, mostly, it’s pretty hard, and governments can even go to the extent of banning essential sites like Facebook, Reddit, Foreign News, etc. Regimes in Iran, North Korea, and China are testaments to this very phenomenon.

censorship and rule of vpn

VPNs can drive you past such censorships with incredible ease as all you need to do to connect to a server in the country you wish to view content from, and you are past the geo-restrictions anytime, anywhere.

And apart from this, VPNs act as your vanguard against snooping attempts of all kinds. E.g., most people are unaware that your Internet service provider can see all of your activity as it passes through its data servers. This can be seriously detrimental to your privacy, so you must ensure that your connection is safe from such attempts by connecting to a VPN.

There are many more advantages that using a VPN can accrue, but you need to be careful when selecting a VPN because, like in every other field, dupe services exist here.

Free VPNs that lurk in unsuspecting places like the Google Play store are not to be trusted as running a VPN service credibly requires a massive amount of investment and resourcefulness, which Free VPNs can’t afford. So these services survive by making money through dubious ways like planting malware codes into user phones, selling user data, using user devices as nodes to power a more extensive system like a bitcoin mining operation, etc.

It would help if you stayed away from such sham providers at all costs because more than choosing a VPN is choosing the right VPN.

What You Should Look for When Choosing a VPN Provider

If you are a newbie in this domain, here are some tips to help you recognize and acquire a credible VPN service:

  • Visit Top VPN review sites to read their comprehensive overhauls of particular services. This is exceedingly helpful in allowing you to know about the performance, features, and credibility of a VPN service you are looking to subscribe to. Just a simple search like Cheapest VPN can quickly get you there.
  • Don’t fall for advertising claims or those hefty taglines like “The world’s fastest VPN service” providers use. They are marketing talk, and actual performance often varies.
  • Check for feature offerings like Double VPN, Kill Switch, Number of client apps offered, etc. Only the best VPNs provide extra features. Otherwise, scam services often do much and only relegate their feature packs to primary offerings.
  • Go for VPNs that offer at least 500 servers minimum so that you have ample choice in connecting to a specific region and to access the one with the minor lag and best speeds.
  • Go to Reddit and check for threads related to VPN providers. Users are mostly brutally honest about services, and if you find a majority of them busting a service, then trust their experience and don’t go for that service.
  • Ask the provider whether it offers geo-restriction unblocking like access to Netflix US. If it does, then it’s a keeper.
  • Don’t fuss much about the price, as the best VPNs can be expensive to subscribe to. E.g., ExpressVPN, a top service, is exorbitantly priced, but its performance is unmatched.

These tips will quite quickly get you closer to your goal of acquiring a good enough VPN service, but if you are still apprehensive whether getting a VPN is suitable for you or not, then please be informed that just like you lock your house from the inside when you are in there, your online connection also needs some semblance of security and protection from all the threats plying out there.

From snoopers to hackers and from government agencies to ISPs, user data is the new oil being sought by these entities. Nowadays, people conduct pretty sensitive activities online like using their financial accounts, having intimate conversations and video chats with their loved ones, accessing work files and data, among other things. All of these activities have one big thing in common: they hold information that is vital to you. Protection here is not an option but a necessity.

Final Words

If someone can access any such sensitive data from your connection, it can be increasingly damaging to your private and work life, resulting in losses ranging from financial to personal. So you must acquire a VPN fast to be in the driving seat by being proactive to threats rather than being reactive, which, like always, is nothing more than getting seat belts installed after the accident.

Masri serves as the Chief Content Editor at BestKodiTips. With three years of experience, she excels in creating technical content, focusing on how-to guides, Android and Kodi tutorials, app reviews, and addressing common technological challenges. She ensures to stay abreast of the latest tech updates. Outside of work, Masir finds pleasure in reading books, watching documentaries, and engaging in table tennis.

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