LearnWhat is a VPN? And why do you need one in 2020?

Photo by jeshoots-com / CC0
Alex Sloane

Alex Sloane
writes on January 15, 2020

Globally, it is estimated that 53 percent of internet users are more concerned about their online privacy now than they were a year ago.

Online privacy is next to non-existent these days.

For starters, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can easily track your online activity. Some ISPs go so far as to sell this information to advertising companies so that they can target consumers better.

In some politically oppressed countries, the government may be tracking online behavior strictly, making even innocent activity at risk of being perceived as dangerous.

Many websites collect information like IP addresses, preferences, and user activity to tailor-make each customer’s online experience.

Among the few ways to avoid getting your online activity tracked, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the most common.

In this article, we will talk about what a VPN is, how it works, and the reasons why you may need a VPN.

What is a VPN?

VPN is a technology that allows you to connect your computer securely and remotely to a private network through the internet. It allows you to even connect to many different networks or servers safely.

A normal connection is generated as a pathway with a starting point and destination, having different control points through which data travels in the form of packets.

When you use a VPN, there is an encryption and authentication layer applied to the pathway, so that the data packets are protected. This is called VPN tunneling. 

The data packets are protected in the “tunnel” until they reach their final destination, where they are decrypted and the information within them is revealed to the rightful user. 

The authentication layer verifies the identity of the user and restricts access. This way your data is safe and cannot be accessed by others.

Reasons Why You May Need a VPN

So, now you know what VPNs are and what they are used for.

But you still aren’t sure if you need one. Let me put this in perspective for you: most companies such have a sound privacy policy in place. But, this doesn’t stop thieves or ISPs from seeing your data. 

That just protects the given company in cases of cyber crimes.

These are fantastic first steps, but they can’t prevent you from having a trail or your ISP seeing your data. 

The VPN global market has grown from $20.60 billion in the year 2018 to $23.60 billion in 2019. It is estimated to increase to $35.73 billion in the year 2022.

You don’t have to be some sort of full stack expert to use a VPN. Here are some of the most common reasons why you would need a VPN:

Privacy While Surfing the Internet on Public Wi-Fi

There has been a 65% increase in security breaches in the last five years. It is estimated that in spite of the risks associated with the usage of public Wi-Fi, 81% of people still connect to it.

Some of these risks are ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ attacks (people who get in between your connection and read the information you are sending out), unencrypted networks, malware distribution, and malicious hotspots.

Once you are on a public Wi-Fi connection, chances are that there could be someone waiting for you to leak out some vital information like your bank credentials. Unless your data is encrypted, your passwords can be easily hacked.

VPNs allow you to use your web browser safely and securely when you are connected to public Wi-Fi networks at places such as coffee shops, hotels, or shopping malls. They encrypt your data so that nothing can be read by an outsider.

This helps you avoid malicious attackers who may be trying to retrieve confidential information or important passwords from you.

Restricted Access While Traveling

Sometimes, you will need to access a company website or other data related websites from a different country while traveling. VPNs allow you to avoid the restrictions based on location by enabling you to connect to the website through a server that is within the permitted area.

Certain companies restrict your access to their website or services based on your location, and some governments even block access to sites like Google, YouTube, Facebook, etc.

VPNs allow you to access the same platforms and websites that you use in your home country. These may include banking and financial websites, communication and networking apps such as Skype, and entertainment apps such as Netflix.

Share Files And Data While Working Remotely

83% of remote workers use some form of technology to interact with coworkers in different locations. Also, 78% of these workers commonly experience technical difficulties.

Using a VPN service while working remotely will allow you to connect securely with a remote computer network, from anywhere in the world. The VPN provides access and privacy to your computer, removing any threat to your company’s confidential data.

For remote workers, however, there are more reasons to choose a VPN, apart from online security. For instance, your internet connection should be reliable, allowing you to be online whenever you need to work. This is especially important when you need to attend business calls online that involve screen sharing or the transfer of crucial data.

Another factor to take note of is your internet speed. VPNs allow you to have internet security, reliability, and speed so that your remote working days are bliss.

How to Choose the Best VPN

While choosing a VPN, you need to consider factors such as download speed, privacy, security features, jurisdiction and logging policies, access to Torrents and Netflix, user-friendliness, online support, and affordability.

Currently, NordVPN is the best one on the market. It boasts of high security, speed, and ease of use. It has a large server park with over 5300 servers spanning 59 countries. NordVPN is thus able to help you easily stream videos and access blocked content. 

While combing through the vast amount of VPNs on the market, NordVPN holds its own among the best VPNs for accessing Netflix, too. To read more, check out this detailed review on its pros and cons. 

Conclusion

A VPN is designed to encrypt and secure all data that travels through the connections you make on the internet.

It helps keep your connections private when you use public Wi-Fi connections and removes location-based restrictions on websites when you are traveling. It also helps you share files and other highly confidential data files when you work remotely and helps you in SEO audits.

Before you choose a VPN for yourself, you need to consider all the factors that matter the most to you such as download speed, cost, and logging policies.

NordVPN is one of the most highly recommended VPNs. It is easy to use and has high levels of speed and security.

We hope that this article has helped you understand the reasons why you need a VPN and how you can choose the best one.

 


About the Author: Alex Sloane

Alex Sloane is a freelance writer and content optimization specialist. He has worked with dozens of SaaS and B2B companies to capture more organic traffic from better content. Recently making the full-time jump to freelance work, Alex loves forming new partnerships.

One Response to “What is a VPN? And why do you need one in 2020?”

  1. Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

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