VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is anything but its new technology – but many users still know too little about it. It has become very popular amongst expats. But there are many providers and pitfalls around Virtual Private Networks. We show you what you need to know about the topic and why you need VPN apps, even if you are not a serial junkie.
Are you satisfied with the Netflix offer in Germany or do you generally miss streaming? Stop, don’t stop reading yet, a VPN app belongs on every mobile phone. You don’t need much theoretical knowledge, because the operation of the apps for Android and iOS is very easy. But it doesn’t hurt to understand the basic idea, because then you can easily evaluate the different VPN offers yourself, read more at https://www.siliconindia.com/news/general/VPN-Security-Protocols-nid-208506-cid-1.html.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is anything but its new technology. Companies have been using VPNs for decades so that employees can securely connect to corporate networks while on the move or from their home office. The clou for private users is that you can also use this technology for encrypted data transfer. At the same time, a VPN conceals your actual IP address.
Thus a VPN brings the following advantages for you:
- you can surf safely at insecure WLAN hotspots
- a visited site cannot identify you by your IP address.
- If you connect to a VPN server abroad, it will appear as if your mobile phone or PC is located in that country, allowing you
- to use video streams protected by country blocks, for example.
VPN providers make getting started easier
However, a VPN in a company must first be set up, secured and maintained; full-time administrators take care of all the server stuff there. You don’t have to do this yourself, because there are numerous VPN services that have already done this and that provide easy access. Well-known VPN services include NordVPN, ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN; security companies such as Kaspersky, Symantec and F-Secure also offer VPN services.
For a small monthly fee of around 3 to 5 Euros per month, you can use these VPN services on several devices. The providers provide apps for Android and iOS as well as programs for Windows and Mac. You will also get a user account. Then you start the client for the VPN and log in with your access data. From this point on you surf through an encrypted VPN tunnel and use the advantages mentioned above.
Overcoming country barriers
Most users have a VPN at the start to bypass country locks. Often these geoblocks are intended to make streaming content accessible only to users from a specific country. Example Netflix: Even if you have a Netflix account, as a German user you can only see the content that Netflix provides in Germany. However, some series or films can only be seen in the USA, the UK or Canada. With a VPN you can also access this content.
And this is how it works: The VPN apps provide many different servers in different countries. NordVPN, for example, operates over 5,000 servers in 60 countries. You can simply select a US or UK server in the apps and programs of the VPN providers, via which your data will then be transferred. If you then start Netflix, the streaming service will think you are abroad and provide the appropriate content. So you can watch US series directly from Germany. The other way around is also possible: for example, if you want to use German streaming services during your holiday in Spain.
Not invisible, but veiled
Very often VPN providers also advertise anonymous surfing. However, the services cannot keep the marketing promise purely technically. It is true that a VPN conceals your real IP address. You connect to a VPN server and the data traffic runs over it. So if you are connected to a US server of the VPN provider and surf past Netflix, you arrive there with a US IP address. For Netflix it is then not possible to recognize whether this is your real IP address or not.
But tracking on the Internet is not only based on IP addresses. The IP address is an important feature, but only one that can be used to recognize it. Also the browser, the operating system, the device with which you surf: your settings and cookies also provide information to identify you. So what you should always have in mind: VPN services don’t make you invisible on the net. Nevertheless, VPNs are also useful beyond country locks, for example as a security tool through encryption.
Secure surfing at the hotspot
If possible, nothing should be stored in log files (No Log Policy, Zero Log Policy). What doesn’t work at all are records of visited websites (traffic), and if possible your real IP addresses, used DNS servers or connection data such as time stamp and bandwidth should not be logged. NordVPN or ProtonVPN are exemplary in this respect.
There’s one drawback to VPNs that you should know about: No matter how fast the Internet connection is, every VPN slows you down because the encryption generates an overhead and the paths over the servers of the providers are longer than usual. Here only try it out, so that your feet don’t fall asleep when using VPN. So that this doesn’t cost you anything, you can test free trial versions with almost all VPN providers. If a VPN provider has no free test possibility in the program, you should avoid it. A little tip: There’s plenty to choose from.
Recommended VPN services
Recommended VPN services are NordVPN, ProtonVPN or PureVPN. They offer apps for Android and iOS as well as applications for Windows and Mac, they are easy to use, have a wide server selection and are fast enough. Also the recording of log files is limited to a minimum.
You should be careful with free VPNs. The bottom line is that a VPN provider has certain costs for the servers and their operation. After all, the whole thing should be well secured and run stable. In any case, you should ask yourself how a free offer is financed. Some providers fade in advertisements, others already drift a bit into the dubious corner and do business with the data of the VPN users.
From ProtonVPN there is an interesting free VPN. It is suitable for everyone who wants to try out the topic without obligation or for occasional users. The catch at the thing:
The free version of ProtonVPN is slimmed down. It runs only on one device, offers only three countries and is also throttled by the speed of use.
Everyone should have a VPN app, at the latest on vacation it is worth it if you have to surf the unencrypted hotel WLAN. VPN clients protect you because data is transmitted through an encrypted tunnel. Streaming fans who want to watch foreign series and films can use a VPN client to overcome country barriers, which is also practical. What doesn’t work so well is the thing with anonymity: even the best VPN can’t make you invisible on the net.