VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”, a VPN is a method of creating a connecting to a network or the internet securely via another server. Essentially you can are connecting to one computer which then forwards all your network traffic onwards to it’s end location creating a buffer between you and the final connection. People use VPNs to browse the internet, connect to a network, change where location appears to be and so on.
With a VPN you could connect to a computer in the USA from anywhere else in the world and from your IP address it would appear that you are located in the US, this is handy for accessing websites and resources that are limited to different countries.
In this complete guide we will look at What Exactly is a VPN, Why use a VPN and The Best VPN Services in 2017.
What is a VPN Service?
There are a number of providers of VPN services where for a monthly or yearly fee, allow you to access their network. When you pay for a VPN service you are paying for the right to use their servers to forward your internet connection on. Your connection with a VPN is encrypted and therefore private, your ISP will not see which websites you visit and what you download – they will only see a single connection between you and the IP address of the VPN you are connected to.
This is becoming more important with recent revelations about governments snooping on your internet activities, you may have nothing to hide but why give up your privacy when you don’t have to? With the vast volumes of data being stored and the new laws that are being passed around the world, including the UK it is only a matter of time before a data breach occurs and large amounts of personal internet habits occurs.
If you signup to a VPN service you will be given a piece of software you can install on your computer which will then route your traffic via their private servers. You are usually given a physical location to choose from around the world, so you can choose a location close to you or choose one in a different country if you wish to appear as an internet user from there.
Why use a VPN?
In this section, let’s take a look at some of the reasons that people choose to use a VPN service.
- Access Your Work Network – You can use a VPN to login to your business network from home or while traveling – the encrypted nature of using a VPN increases the security of the network.
- Access Your Home Network – You can use a VPN to access your home network and using it alongside a piece of remote desktop software you can have full control over your home computer.
- Access Geo-Location Blocked websites and services – Choose an IP address in a different country and you can access things locked to the country. For instance, YouTube videos, Netflix, Pandora and Hulu which have region limitations.
- Hide Your Browsing Activity – Hide which websites you are visiting from your ISP and other agencies which may be recording your internet activity.
- Get Around Censorship – Some countries censor certain websites, such as in the UK certain torrent websites are blocked and in China you can get around the “Great Firewall” gaining you access to any website you choose.
- Torrenting – Some ISPs throttle Bit Torrent downloads, get around this by hiding your traffic from them and get faster download speeds.
Best VPN Providers
Now we have looked at the reasons for using a VPN, let’s look at some of the best providers you can purchase a VPN service from.
Over the years, NordVPN has become one of the most trusted online security solutions, trusted by thousands of internet users worldwide. They have become recognized by the most influential tech sites and IT security specialists. It is now one of the most trusted privacy and security service provider in the World, recognized for the strongly held values and well thought-out features.
- Pricing: $5.75 per month if you purchase a yearly plan. $11.95 if paying monthly.
Express VPN offers an Easy-to-use VPN service for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, and Linux with 145 locations to choose from. Their network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption, and they’re constantly optimizing the network to provide unlimited bandwidth and speed, so you can stream your favorite movies and TV shows in high definition.
- Pricing: $8.32 per month if you purchase a yearly plan. $12.95 if paying monthly.
Zen Mate protects you from Website trackers from banner ads, website analytics, and social media. It will unlock websites such as streaming videos, news publications, or social media are denied to you if you’re in a specific country or region. ZenMate allows you to choose your public location, and access otherwise restricted content.
- Pricing: $4.99 per month if you purchase a yearly plan. $8.99 if paying monthly.
Strong VPN offers a VPN and a DNS solution so you can choose which or both you prefer to use. They offer VPN connections in 47 cities in 24 countries, automatic setup for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, 2048 Bit Encryption and a 5 day money back guarantee.
- Pricing: $5.83 per month if you purchase a yearly plan. $10 if paying monthly.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access are one of the largest VPN providers with 3263+ Servers in 25 Countries and a whole host of features which include:
- Secure VPN Account
- Encrypted WiFi
- P2P Support
- PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec
- 5 devices simultaneously
- Block ads, trackers, and malware
- Multiple VPN Gateways
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- SOCKS5 Proxy Included
- No traffic logs
- Pricing: $3.33 per month if you purchase a yearly plan. $6.95 if paying monthly.