Many of our customers have been asking us about VPN’s lately. What is it? Do I need one? How do I set it up? With Internet privacy being what it is, more and more people are wondering how they can protect themselves. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) may be the answer. Let’s answer these questions one at a time:
What is a VPN?
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is encrypting software that masks your identity and internet activity by hiding your IP Address. (Your IP Address is the number associated with your computer or phone that identifies you to the network. It’s a string of numbers like 220.127.116.11 and uniquely identifies you. If you head over to What Is My IP Address, it will tell you what your IP address is, who your ISP is, and where you are located.) When you use a VPN, your computer sends your internet activity to a remote server which will then send your request on, but without your identifying IP address. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will not be able to see or track your activity.
Do I need it?
If you are traveling in a country with less secure internet practices, you need a VPN. If you frequently use the Internet at coffee shops, you need a VPN. If you want to keep your internet activity secure for any reason at all, you definitely need a VPN. (Remember that just because a public WiFi is called Starbucks, doesn’t mean it is really being provided by the store you are in. It could also be someone in the parking lot monitoring traffic and collecting as much personal data as they can.)
How do I set up a VPN?
First, do some research to see which VPN provides the features that you want at an affordable price. You can expect to pay under $10/month for a good VPN Service. Most VPN’s allow you to connect multiple devices. When doing your research, look to see if the company saves your data and what the laws are in the country it operates in. Another feature that some VPNs have is to disconnect you from the Internet if their service stops working for whatever reason. That way you’re never using the internet without being encrypted.
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Once you’ve selected the service, download the software on each device – computer, tablet, phone – and you are good to go! We like NordVPN.
If you need help setting up your VPN, contact us for an appointment.