You may have heard the term VPN used by your IT department. You may have even used a VPN at home or while travelling. But what exactly is a VPN and why should you consider using one?
A VPN provides a secure and stable connection between your home or work computer and an external network. The term VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network, and that gives users a good idea what to expect.
Businesses often use a VPN to allow traveling employees and those who work at home to connect to the office and use company resources. Since the VPN sets up a private connection between the employee’s computer and the company network, workers can safely access personal information without fear of data loss, intrusion, or interception.
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about using a VPN.
1. What exactly is a VPN?
A VPN, or virtual private network, provides a secure and stable connection between two points. A company might use a VPN to connect employees who work from home to the company network. Students may also use a VPN to connect to the resources of their school.
2. Why would I use a VPN service?
A VPN service provides many advantages over a traditional Internet connection. Those benefits include improved safety, enhanced security and greater stability. Since the data transmitted across a VPN is encrypted, users do not have to worry about their personal information being intercepted.
3. How do I get a VPN account?
If you work for a major corporation or attend college, you may already be using a VPN account. Your employer may have given you instructions on how to connect from home that is likely a VPN connection. The school you attend may provide students with remote access to its resources that is most likely a VPN connection as well. You can even sign up for a VPN service to use at home. There are a number of VPN services that provide safe, secure and stable private connections for home users.
4. Can I use a VPN if I have a Mac?
Yes. There are VPN services available for the Mac. If you need to connect to your company or school, be sure to let IT support know that you have a Mac. There may be specific instructions you will need to follow to get connected. When choosing a home VPN service, be sure it is compatible with Apple products.
5. Is it safe to use a Free VPN service?
That depends on a number of factors. There are many competing VPN services out there – each with its own pricing structure and safety features. Some VPN services are quite costly, while others are free. A free VPN service can be an acceptable choice for the cash strapped, but it is important to look at the type of security the service uses. Make sure that all incoming and outgoing traffic is encrypted, and that the provider uses the latest security features to protect your data.
6. Will a VPN slow down my Internet connection?
A properly configured VPN should not slow down your Internet connection, but you may have to make some changes to your internal firewalls and other software protections. The VPN service you use should have its own built-in firewall, and it is best to use that firewall instead of relying on an external one. If you must use your own firewall, be sure to configure it to allow traffic from the VPN to move back and forth freely.
7. What does a VPN let me do?
A VPN is designed to provide a safe and secure connection to another network. Once you are connected, you will be able to do anything you would normally do when connected directly to that network. If your employer has a VPN, you will be able to work as if you were sitting at your desk. To enhance your online experience at home, you can install Kodi VPNs which allow you to stream content with privacy and anonymity.
8. What is the payment structure for a VPN service?
The payment structure will vary depending on the VPN service. Many VPN services are similar to Internet service providers and require their members to pay on a monthly basis. Other VPN services have annual or semi-annual payment plans in place. Be sure to read the terms carefully before signing up for a new VPN service.
9. Do I need to have a subscription?
While most VPN services do require a subscription, some may allow you to pay as you go. These pay as you go services can be great for travelers, and for those who only need VPN service on an occasional basis.
10. How can I tell the difference between VPNs?
Some differences will be apparent, while others may be more difficult to determine. A well-built and properly configured VPN will provide you with a seamless experience and excellent network stability. You should not experience disruptions in service, slow traffic or disconnections. A good VPN will also be easy to use, with an intuitive interface and instructions that are clear and easy to follow.
11. Will I really be anonymous?
Maybe. While a VPN does provide safe and secure communication, it may not be truly anonymous. Data is encrypted while enroute between your computer and the remote network, and that provides protection for you and your personal information. Keep in mind, however, that government agencies and law enforcement may still be able to access certain data sent through a VPN service.
12. Do I have to use the VPN every time I go online?
No. You can choose to use the VPN, or your normal Internet connection, depending on your needs. You can use the VPN to connect to the office or your virtual classroom, then use your regular Internet connection to catch up with personal email, Facebook and other online resources.
13. What is a VPN protocol?
In its simplest terms, a protocol is the set of instructions that allows the VPN to connect a computer to a given network. A VPN will typically use one of two main protocols PPTP or L2TP/IPSec. The latter is the more secure VPN protocol, and as a result it is often used by businesses that handle confidential or otherwise sensitive data, as well as by government agencies.
14. How can I use a VPN on my mobile device?
Many people now use their mobile devices for everyday tasks, including connecting to business networks. You will typically need to download and install a piece of software on your mobile device in order to use a VPN. Once that software is installed, just follow the instructions given to you by your service provider.
15. What are the speed and storage limitations of a VPN?
Each VPN provider will have a different maximum speed and storage capacity, so it is important to read the fine print carefully. Keep in mind that speed ratings may not be guaranteed, since the speed of a VPN can be impacted by a number of external factors. Those factors include the speed and reliability of your own Internet connection, as well as the impact of firewalls, anti-virus software and the like.