It is no secret that the EASIEST way to keep your internet traffic secure is by using a VPN. Before deciding which VPN service is right for you, it makes sense to find out what it actually is.
In short: A VPN makes it possible to connect computers on the Internet as if they were on the same local network. On this local network, the computers only communicate with encrypted traffic, which means that your online activity will be protected from other users.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Fastest VPN
- ★ Servers: 5300+
- ★ Countries: 59+
WHY I LIKE NORDVPN: NordVPN has long been regarded as one of the strongest brands in cybersecurity. With one of the largest server offerings on my list and support for most, if not all operating systems, making NordVPN an obvious choice for many. They have 24/7 customer support if you need help getting started. Their app is one of the most well-designed apps I have ever used. NordVPN even accepts cryptocurrencies as payment for extra anonymity.
45 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best torrent VPN
- ★ Servers: 7200+
- ★ Countries: 91+
WHY I LIKE CYBERGHOST: CyberGhost VPN is the first choice of many other cybersecurity experts, and the reason is clear; they have the most complete VPN service. An incredible number of extra features that are best suited for the more advanced users but also work flawlessly for every-day purposes like P2P-filesharing. Cyberghost VPN also has the longest stretching money-back guarantee at a full 45 days.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best cheap VPN
- ★ Servers: 3200+
- ★ Countries: 65+
WHY I LIKE SURFSHARK: Surfshark VPN is perfect for those who want a cheap and reliable VPN that also has many extra features. "Camouflage Mode" hides your usage from your ISP, "Kill Switch" suspends your connection and protects your information if you temporarily lose Internet access, "MultiHop" to connect from multiple countries at the same time just to name a few. My favorite feature of Surfshark is "Whitelists" which allow the user to exclude specific apps and programs from the VPN connection.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best gaming VPN
- ★ Servers: 200+
- ★ Countries: 63+
WHY I LIKE PRIVATEVPN: PrivateVPN is the strong underdog in the world of VPNs. With a shy number of servers, it is evident that they are focusing on quality over quantity. Overall, PrivateVPN is a very decent choice of VPN, especially if you had enough of the excessive advertising by some of the other more known brands in this list. Setting up the VPN requires extremely little intervention, and you can even pay with Bitcoin.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Incredibly cheap VPN
- ★ Servers: 700+
- ★ Countries: 27+
WHY I LIKE ATLAS VPN: Atlas VPN is one of the best new free VPN services. With the free version, you get unlimited data, no ads and zero logging. During my speed tests, Atlas VPN performed very well and could compete with mainstream services. Kill Switch, Ad-blocker, and P2P support all included with a regular subscription, which is incredibly cheap for such a robust service.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best Netflix VPN
- ★ Servers: 35500+
- ★ Countries: 78+
WHY I LIKE PIA VPN: PrivateInternetAccess is at the top of my streaming tests, which is a great combination with their easy-to-use UI, Open-Source software and built in adblocker. PIA is also perfect for those who want to be able to pay with PayPal which for some reason, many other VPN services do not support. 30-day money-back guarantee, multiple Netflix libraries, and extremely affordable are the three main selling points for this VPN service.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best Android VPN
- ★ Servers: 3000+
- ★ Countries: 94+
WHY I LIKE EXPRESSVPN: ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most reliable VPN services. With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you will have a fair chance to see if you are happy with the service. They support almost every device and OS out there, and their 24/7 customer support is the best I have experienced among all the VPNs in this list. The only pitfall that ExpressVPN has is the price. It is double the price as some of the other services in this list. Despite that, I strongly believe ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services you can get.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best free VPN
- ★ Servers: 1246+
- ★ Countries: 55+
WHY I LIKE PROTONVPN: ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and is most known for their e-mail service ProtonMail. They currently offer the safest free VPN services on the market. There is also support for TOR usage and P2P file sharing. I highly recommend ProtonVPN if you are intending to do some extensive online sharing. It goes without saying that Proton does not collect logs of any kind and is completely safe to use.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best multi-device VPN
- ★ Servers: 1000+
- ★ Countries: 200+
WHY I LIKE HOLA VPN: Hola VPN garnered a bad reputation a few years back when it's free proxy service was abused, and some user data was leaked. Hola quickly fixed the issues, but the damage to Hola's reputation was already made. Today, Hola VPN is a strong contender in the search of the best vpn service. Hola has industry standard encryption, thousands of high-speed servers, and, a solid no log policy. The price is also very affordable, especially considering you can connect 10 devices simultaneously.
10 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best reputation
- ★ Servers: 91+
- ★ Countries: 17+
WHY I LIKE OVPN: OVPN is the best alternative for people who expect heavy security from their VPN provider. No other operator has the same level of physical security that OVPN has. All their servers operate without any type of storing media, which would otherwise log information. One selling point that really stands out, is their insurance. They go out of their way to protect their customers by having insurance so that when some government requests documents, they will have the resources needed to fight the claim in court.
45 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Fastest free VPN
- ★ Servers: 3200+
- ★ Countries: 80+
WHY I LIKE HOTSPOT SHIELD: Protect your personal information from hackers, snoopers, and ISPs with the fastest free VPN of 2021. That is right, the crown for fastest free VPN has already been claimed by Hotspot Shield, supported by multiple speed tests around the web, including my own. While their premium VPN service is one of the more expensive ones, the free version is good enough for people who just cannot pay for a VPN service, but still value their online privacy.
No money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best new VPN
- ★ Servers: 202+
- ★ Countries: 41+
WHY I LIKE TRUST.ZONE: Trust.Zone is a rather new player in the VPN-game that offers a minimalistic VPN-option for a competitive price. Based in Seychelles with no-logging policies, this is a great alternative for those that want to remain completely anonymous. Unlimited speed and bandwidth make this a decent choice of VPN for P2P-sharing. All common operative systems are supported.
15 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Great adblocker included
- ★ Servers: 1800+
- ★ Countries: 20+
WHY I LIKE iTOP VPN: Statistics show that VPNs are one of the most popular internet security tools, with more than 400 million people around the world using VPN servers for various purposes. There are a variety of expensive VPNs available and all of them have great features, but they are also a bit overpriced. iTop VPN is by far one of the most efficient services that offer all features collectively in a single place.
Comparison of all VPN services
|Brand||Average Rating||Logs||Netflix||Lowest Price|
|Hotspot Shield VPN||77,14%||No*||Yes||$7.99|
|Malwarebytes Privacy VPN||74,25%||No||No||$3.33|
|Bitdefender Premium VPN||67%||No||Yes||$2.49|
What does a VPN actually do?
A virtual private network creates a private tunnel between two access points in a network.
The tunnel itself encrypts the information and thus protects it from unwanted readers like hackers.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to use VPN if you are using a public network.
What is the best VPN?
A smart way to keep you safe on the internet is through the use of a VPN.
But the question on everyone’s mind is what is the best way to choose a VPN?
To answer this question, there are a few things that you need to consider.
The first and most important is privacy.
Ensure that the company that you choose respects privacy.
One of their policies should be a no-log, which means no tracking of your online activities.
The protocol is another thing; OpenVPNs offer a secure protocol as compared to PPTP.
OpenVPN’s are open source and can be installed on any device, including mobile phones and laptops.
Below are two main factors to consider before getting a VPN.
Cost of the VPN
Cheaper VPNs are very tempting for new users.
After all, everyone wants to spend as little as possible each month.
However, focusing on just the price could lead to mistakes and poor judgment.
Remember, the VPN will have access to private information, and the provider should be reliable and maintain your privacy.
The connection should also be fast with no downtime.
Considering all these, the best services’ prices range from $9.99 to $12.99 per month, excluding additional costs.
Furthermore, these prices change depending on the type of service being delivered.
Some offer prices as low as $4.99 per month, but for only one device.
The same provider can also charge $12.99 for a month, but ten devices are allowed.
Number of Servers
More important than the actual cost of the VPN is the number of servers.
Typically, the more, the better.
VPNs that run on only a few servers will have slow speeds and, when overwhelmed, fail to provide the intended services.
This happens when many users are connected at the same time.
Not only will connecting to the server be an issue but so will streaming and downloading content from the servers.
When looking for a better service, check for the ones that have many servers.
A minimum of 1000 servers is less likely to run into problems.
Some providers have VIP servers for customers using their highest rates.
These servers have fewer users and are less likely to fail.
What can a VPN protect against?
Virtual private networks are used for a wide variety of purposes. Here is a short list;
- To get around governments’ blockages of certain websites.
- To protect digital data on public and private networks.
- To hide their digital footprint.
- To be able to watch another region’s offerings of streaming such as Netflix, Hulu in Australia, etc.
- To be able to see how a website appears when it thinks you’re from a different country.
Pros and cons
Pros of using a VPN
- Increased security.
- Remote access.
- Increased network efficiency.
Cons of using a VPN
Some users may experience temporary connection problems when a server becomes overloaded.
- Monthly cost.
Although the cost is exceptionally low, it is seen as a disadvantage for users who do not use it very often.
Factors to consider
VPNetic ranks my top list depending on several factors. Some of these factors in no particular order are:
- Reliability of the operator.
- Usage of logs. (None are acceptable!)
- User-friendly interfaces.
Other use cases
Using virtual private networks is quite common in countries such as India or the UK as both countries have blocked sites with adult content to some degree.
However, those blocks are not that effective because it is quite easy to get around them with the help of a VPN service.
They are also used to protect people’s data on public networks.
You should generally never connect to a public network without a private connection.
On public networks which can be found at libraries and airports, every keystroke is vulnerable to hackers.
Every password and message can be read in clear text if you are not using a virtual private network.
Now, the security of airports’ Wi-Fi is certainly much better than at a library or a regular cafe, so if you just have to check Facebook on your mobile at the airport then there is not a high probability of being hacked.
Better safe than sorry though!
One VPN provider could be a solid choice in one country, and horrible in another.
It can vary heavily by which country you reside in and what purpose you are using it for.
Best Free VPN in Australia
Many operators will offer free limited trials, and some will claim to be 100% free. But would you ever trust someone with your internet activity, without any incentive for them to keep it private?
They essentially replace the responsibilities of your ISP, who without a VPN can monitor all your online activity.
If you’re not careful with which service you decide to subscribe to, you may end up getting your data sold.
There are even instances where companies will have lacklustre security and allow their customer’s data to be stolen, which happened very recently with several Hong Kong-based VPN companies.
Every single service in my list will probably fulfil your VPN purposes but they differ slightly in price, payment methods, and of course, reliability!
If you are still hesitant about paying for a VPN service, then there are a few options left for you.
Please refer to my “Free Australia VPN“-article for advice on the best free VPN service.
Best VPN for torrenting
If you decide to download copyrighted material such as movies, music, and games then you should absolutely use something to cover your tracks, unless you don’t care about lawsuits.
If you refrain from using a VPN while sharing copyrighted material then it’s very easy for any government to look for your IP address, connect the digital dots and then give you a hefty fine for copyright infringement.
However, I recommend that you follow the law and abstain from downloading anything that you do not have permission for.
But if you ignore my advice anyway, I hope you choose a VPN from the top list.
Best Cheap VPN
The cheapest VPNs are not always the best ones.
But in the grand scheme of things, a paid service will always be more trustworthy than a free one.
So if you’re interested in paying as little as you can for a VPN, you should focus on the price points of the VPNs listed here.
All of them have gone through rigorous tests and are of top-notch quality.
While some are better than others in terms of extra features, some will have a lower price.
And if that’s the main thing you’re interested in, there is no good reason for you to be paying more than you want.
Purchasing a subscription can be tricky because you really do not want to be cheap regarding your online privacy.
But I can personally assure you, that all of the services listed in our Top 10 are of the highest quality available.
Best VPN for Mobile
The best VPN for mobile is whichever app that has the least amount of latency/lag and the best user interface.
There are certainly some personal preferences to be had here, but generally, the most popular services will spend more on their apps than other smaller services.
For advice on which VPN is the best mobile, please refer to the top 5 of the list on this page.
Best VPN for Android
It is very unlikely that a VPN service that is in the top 10 for PC, won’t be in the top 10 Australia VPNs for Android.
With that said, some operators spend more time on app UI than others.
I won’t be mentioning any specific names, but if the VPN’s Android or iOS app is awful, they will not be considered for any Top 10 on this site.
We are at a point in technology where we should expect VPN companies to not skimp on any costs regarding user-friendliness.
Best VPN for Netflix and Streaming
The one single most important factor when choosing a VPN specifically for using while streaming is speed.
Some will argue that it’s more important that you can get around geographic restrictions, I will argue that if your media is constantly buffering, it will not matter anyway.
Netflix and some other streaming services will sometimes discover that you are using a VPN, and will display an error message like this:
“Whoops, something went wrong. Streaming error. You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.”
This error can easily be circumvented by an IP-refresh feature, that many of the VPNs in my top list have.
The error message just means that Netflix has discovered that you are using a VPN server and that they are legally obliged to tell you to stop.
Your account will never be banned for using a VPN and while their efforts of blocking VPNs have increased, VPN companies have stepped up their game as well.
Most notably with making IP-refresh features available for all customers, free of charge.
For a more comprehensive guide to streaming Netflix with a VPN, click here: Best VPN for Netflix Australia.
How to unblock US Netflix
Are you in Australia and want to watch American Netflix? Understandable, there are over 500 titles exclusive to the American market and more coming each month. Normally, you wouldn’t be able to access those because of Geo-blocking, but with a VPN you can easily circumvent it!
- Sign up for a service specially suited for streaming.
- Connect to an American server.
- Sign up for Netflix.
All providers on this page have amazingly fast download speed on their servers and are continuously working against Netflix blocking VPN servers.
Best VPN for multiple devices
The most versatile VPN will have support for PC, Windows 10, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and every other OS and browser you can think of.
Technologically, there are no limitations that the company shouldn’t be able to circumvent.
However, some providers do not make this easily available to you.
Some of them charge extra for multiple devices.
I find it is the most cost-effective to sign up to a provider when they are offering some kind of deal with multiple devices included, or just making sure that your choice of provider isn’t a predatory one.
Which is the Safest VPN?
The title for most secure VPN service changes year to year. Operators change their policies, legislation, and regulation changes, and the title can be claimed by anyone who dares to stand up for internet privacy.
One thing is certain though, and that is that a provider who carries logs of user activity will never be deemed “most secure”.
The following services have deemed to be safe for 2021:
- Surfshark VPN
- CyberGhost VPN
VPN facts and statistics
- VPN uses encrypted and authenticated links to enable the connection between private networks and computers.
- VPN operators found on VPNetic never log any of their customers VPN usage.
- Using a VPN can increase your internet speed.
- VPN services can sometimes protect you from viruses. (not always!)
- VPN’s are banned in over 30 countries, for example, China, North Korea, and Russia.
- With VPN you can get around barriers that your internet service provider has set, such as a ban on P2P filesharing. (Torrents, magnet links, etc.)
- OpenVPN is the most popular and reliable protocol used today. It is open source and has been released to the public under a GPL license.
- PPTP is the first-ever VPN protocol created and it’s rarely used today due to its relatively low security.
- You can save a lot of money on the monthly price of VPN services if you commit to one year or more instantly. In some cases, you can reduce your cost by up to 70%!
How to test the operators and their VPN software
No company really expects its customers to actually do it.
That is where VPNetic comes in.
If they pass, I will move on to creating an account.
Just like an ordinary customer, I will visit their website and purchase a subscription.
If there are any problems along the way, I will also make sure to contact customer support to see how helpful they will be.
If no major problem has occurred this far, this is where I will download the application and evaluate the UI.
Most applications will be pretty similar, but I have definitely used lacklustre VPN software many times before.
Now is the time for testing the performance and speed of the VPN servers.
Usually, I will test them on 6 different servers in 6 different countries.
If they want to pass this test, they need to keep 80% of our baseline speed or more, in 5 or more countries.
Some other important factors that I consider when picking the Top 10 are the following:
- The number of simultaneous connections allowed.
- Built-in Adblock / Antimalware software.
- Static/Personal IP addresses.
- The number of servers.
- Average server load.
- The number of server locations.
How can you trust VPN reviews and VPN comparisons
Most VPN reviewers are affiliated with the operators and will receive a commission for every sale made through their links.
While that doesn’t have to be a problem, it can become one when rankings are decided based on commission percentages.
The most honest reviews are the ones that do not adhere to the provider’s prior trust and reputation or the amount of commission they will receive.
That is why it’s very important to be critical of affiliate reviewers, and make sure that what you are reading is someone’s honest opinion.
Otherwise, you might as well be reading an advertisement.
The dark web, TOR browser, and Tails OS
The protection that a user gets from a VPN is in most cases enough to protect your data. But in other areas of use, you need even more protection.
Those users may want to use a virtual operating system, like Tails OS.
That virtual OS is primarily being used when venturing out on the dark web.
To fully protect your connection, using just a VPN and TOR might not always be enough.
It is highly advisable that you do proper research before exploring the dark web.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a connection between a device and the internet that is encrypted. The purpose of the encryption is to ensure that the connection is safe and to protect the digital information that is being transmitted from being exposed. The VPN will hide your true IP address and provide the address of the VPN server instead.
This is particularly useful when trying to circumvent geographic restrictions, governmental blocks, and even ISP-throttling. For a connection to be classified as a VPN, it needs to be encrypted.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network creates a private network within a public network to enable devices to communicate directly with each other. Devices in a VPN, therefore, benefit from security, functionality, and management of the structure being used. This technology was created to allow employees of a corporation to access information through their mobile devices or branch offices. The connection is established using a tunnelling protocol, and users have to pass authentication processes before accessing data.
In some cases, internet users use VPNs to prevent geo-blocking and censorship by the government or use proxy servers to ensure their private information is safe. Contrary to this, some websites have put stringent measures to prevent access from devices that use VPNs.
Why do I need a VPN?
Surfing the internet could put private data in jeopardy, especially if you are using unsecured networks. When signed into a local network, your device broadcasts its information on the network. A hacker can easily eavesdrop on what you are doing and can access or alter the data.
You risk exposure to your browsing habits and the sharing of private information. Therefore, VPNs should be crucial if you are concerned with your online security and privacy. The anonymity and encryption that a VPN provides protect all your online activities, including shopping, sending emails, and even paying your bills.
Moreover, your web browsing history will be anonymous. Make a habit of using secure networks or VPNs if you are using an open system. Homes might seem to be secure from prying eyes due to low traffic. However, a hacker can get access to your trusted network if it is not adequately secured.
Furthermore, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been known to sell private information to third parties. ISPs say that the information is anonymized, and this is sometimes not the case. Having a VPN as part of your network adds another layer of security to the network. To ensure all systems work, you should add the VPN on the router since installing it on devices might cause errors to some programs. In addition to security, you will also be able to access and stream content that would have otherwise been unavailable in the country.
Working remotely is another thing that requires the safety and anonymity of data. Sales teams, conferences, and advertising of a business can all be done with a simple click thanks to the advancement in technology. Given this simpleness of communication, security comes into play because the data and information being shared are private.
Recently, more companies have invested in the use of VPNs to help them protect information for their companies since they are accessed remotely. Such companies do need a customized VPN service due to their large-scale workforce and clients. Office servers hold proprietary data, which is only relevant to the company, and employees might need to access them remotely. With VPNs, this is possible and secure.
How a VPN Works
A VPN works through routing of a device’s internet connection through a selected VPN server rather than using your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The data transmitted comes from the server rather than your device. A VPN acts as a middleman between the computer and the internet, therefore concealing your IP address.
Moreover, the data sent is encrypted, and if by any means it is intercepted, then it is unreadable until it gets to the intended destination. Encryption is a term used to describe how the data is kept safe in transit. Only a computer with a known key can decrypt the data. Decryption is the process that is used to decode the data, which refers to making the info readable once more. In relation to real-life experience, when you enter your credit card information on a website, the data is encrypted until it gets to the destination.
Different VPN providers use a variety of encryption processes to ensure the data is secure from online hackers. However, there are three common procedures for doing this.
One: when you connect to the private network, a tunnel is used to encode your data. The data is now in an unreadable format as it moves between the server and your computer.
Two: your device acquires the same IP address as the local network of the VPN. This means your IP will be the same as the one on the VPN provider’s server.
Three: you can now browse the internet as you please without sharing your data. The effectiveness of the connection will depend on the type and protocol implemented by the VPN.
There are different VPNs in the market that you can use. Some of them include standalone VPNs, browser extensions, router VPN, and corporate VPN. Standalones are software that can be installed on PCs or smartphones. The application creates an encrypted connection to the private network that you can then use. Corporate VPN is an organization oriented for its employees who work remotely. Since it is customized, it requires heavy IT resources and personal development. Router VPNs are mostly implemented in homes and entail installing a VPN on your router.
Different Types of VPNs
VPN technology is a straightforward idea of securely connecting to trusted information through a network you don’t trust. Tricks come in when you don’t know what type to use and in what instance.
Two basic types of VPNs are Client-Based VPN types and Network-Based VPN types.
Dynamic multipoint VPNs, and MPLS-based L3VPNs.
With these types, your network can be tailored to either voice or video traffic. This is not possible while using the internet. Moreover, the bandwidth in this scenario is much cheaper as compared to WAN. Enterprises are now adapting to VPN rather than the use of WAN due to this reason.
A Client-Based VPN is created between a single user and a remote network. Most of these networks are created by applications installable on PC or mobile devices. To start, you need to provide a username and password, which then creates a tunnel. The user will have remote access between the server and the tunnel. Examples of these types include Cisco’s AnyConnect and Pulse.
Most devices, including Windows, Mac, and mobile operating systems, have built-in client options. All these enable the users to connect to a secure tunnel from any location as long as they have an internet connection. Client-based VPNs are very secure since they scan the device that has the software installed before allowing them to the network.
Network-based VPNs connect two networks together through an unsecured network. An example is the IPsec-based WAN, where offices of a network can easily communicate with each other using IPsec tunnels. To successfully build a network tunnel, two devices must be selected to be endpoints, identify the authentication procedure between these devices, and finally choose the traffic that will be allowed to flow through the tunnel.
Policy-based VPNs can also be implemented on IPsec tunnels. Their function is to provide a crypto access list that defines the traffic flow. Use policy-based IPsec where a single tunnel is built between networks that have controlled access to resources. Such a scenario is a company doing business for another company.
Is a proxy connection a VPN?
A proxy is not a virtual private network since it lacks encryption.
A proxy will process your requests and change your IP address if desired but will not provide the security that a VPN would.
The limitations of a VPN
The few disadvantages you can experience while using a VPN are the following:
- Slower internet connection.
While it is also common for users to circumvent ISP throttling, you will sometimes experience a slower connection when the VPN server you are connected to is overcrowded.
Some streaming services (mainly Netflix and Hulu in Australia) will continuously block VPN servers in order to uphold their geographic content restrictions. There are ways to get around this, mainly with an IP-refresh feature, but it is reportedly annoying to get interrupted while you are streaming.
- Logging by VPN companies.
Some VPN operators will claim that they do not log any activity and do it anyway. There have been several examples of operators getting caught doing this, which is why it is important to do your due diligence when choosing which service to subscribe to.
There are also instances of operators selling their company and the new owners will start logging and selling information.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using VPN
Advantages of VPNs
- Hides your IP, thus masking your online identity
- Helps bypass firewalls and restrictions
- Protects your data from cybercriminals
- Avoids online discrimination in some websites
- Safer to download torrents
Disadvantages of VPNs
- Not all devices natively support the use of VPNs
- Some VPN providers log user data
VPN Encryption Protocols
Now you know that VPNs assign your device a new IP address and use a tunnel to transmit data. However, not all VPNs are the same, depending on the encryption protocol being implemented.
Basically, encryption is the process of rearranging letters and numbers to encode information so that few people can have access to and understand it. In advanced stages, ciphers are used to perform the process of encryption and decryption of data. The operations of these ciphers follow a predefined number of steps depending on a provided key. Without this key, it is impossible to decrypt the data. The key length increases the security of the encryptions. Short lengths are susceptible to Brute Force Attacks. A key length of 256bit is considered a gold standard. VPN protocols are the processes and instructions followed by a VPN to ensure a secure connection between a VPN server and the client.
Commercial VPN services use different protocols.
The first one is SSL and TSL. This protocol is not specifically for VPN use, but it has been implemented in OpenVPN and HTTPS secure websites. TSL (Transport Layer Security) was built as an improvement to the SSL (Secure Socket Layer). TSL implements a combination of public and symmetric keys to secure the network. TSL offers a secure connection, but issues usually arise in cases where a website uses one private key for sessions. If this key is compromised, then a hacker can easily get control.
Another protocol is OpenVPN, which is standard in commercial VPN providers. It can easily be configured, is secure, and runs on almost every device. OpenVPN is open-source and its code is publicly shared. Experts can research it, fix errors, or improve it for use. This protocol implements TSL and OpenSSL protocols with other tools to create a reliable and secure connection.
It is recommended under most conditions.
Other protocols are the IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, WireGuard, and PPTP among others. PPTP is the least reliable in the list since it can easily be broken into and also obstruct. It uses the Point-to-Point Tunnelling protocol. It is advisable not to use this protocol unless it is necessary and is for non-critical use.
What does encrypt mean?
Encryption is the process of making information unreadable for everyone who is not supposed to be able to. To make it readable again, you will have to de-encrypt it.
What can a VPN hide?
VPNs hide a lot of data that you share online apart from passwords. Web browsers have the ability to track and log your browsing data for easy retrieval. All this information is tied to Without a VPN, all this information can easily be on your network if it is not properly secured.
Reliable VPN services hide this information by changing the outgoing IP addresses. That means that the data that you search or websites that you visit will not be shared.
Internet Service Providers are also known to share private information with third-party companies. Using a VPN will hide the information from the Internet Service Provider, keeping you safe from identity theft. IP addresses and location information is also hidden. Your location is tied to your IP address. As stated earlier, the IP address is a unique identifier to your device. VPN networks change this IP address, and therefore, the browsing data will not be tied to you since the IP is not your own.
Moreover, the location is also hidden. That means you can change the location to any place you want and access websites restricted in your country. Some VPN service providers also include your current location as one of the selectable countries. This benefits people who frequently move from one country to another. They will enjoy online content from their countries without going through too much hassle.
Devices and web activity are also hidden from the internet. These devices include desktops, laptops, and smartphones. If a cybercriminal identifies the device that you are using, there are tailored exploits that can be implemented to gain access to the device. Hiding the device using a VPN will prove difficult for such an activity.
VPNs also hide your torrenting activities. The government, as well as media companies, are working hard to prevent peer-to-peer file sharing through torrent networks. If you like torrenting, then it is advisable to use a VPN to hide your activity. The provider you choose should be reputable and offer fast speeds and track records, as well as using the latest encryption protocol technologies.
How to connect to a VPN
The easiest way to connect to a VPN on Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, or any other operating system is to purchase a subscription and connect with their application.
Most services will have a very user-friendly interface that will allow you to pick and choose any server you want, from your desired new destination.
There are other ways to connect to a VPN service, which include creating a network in your OS and connecting directly to that.
Your VPN service will often have written guides to help you set it up.
Are VPNs legal?
While VPNs are certainly sometimes used for illegal activities, such as purchasing illegal contraband on the dark web.
But just using one is not a crime, in most of the world.
Countries where VPNs are banned, include North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, China just to name a few.
Using a VPN service in any of those countries, if detected, will most likely only result in a fine.
VPN Routers explained
If you want to avoid installing a VPN on every single device in your home, you may want to consider setting up a VPN for your entire home network.
This is especially useful if you wish to access another region’s library of Netflix on your smart TV.
Generally, there are 3 different kinds of VPN-routers:
- Routers with OpenVPN support.
- Pre-flashed routers.
- Manually configured routers.
For the vast majority of people, buying a router that is already configured for VPN usage is the easiest and fastest way, but may potentially end up costing more than the other alternatives.
I highly recommend that unless you are tech-savvy, you skip the extra steps of configuring a router on your own and buy one that is ready to go out of the box.
How to create your own VPN
Here is a quick guide on how to create your own personal VPN.
- Create an account on a cloud hosting provider of your choice.
- Download “Algo VPN” here.
- Install Algo’s core dependencies found here: GitHub
- Run the install wizard.
- Set your configuration options.
You have now created a working private VPN server.
However, cloud hosting providers often do carry logs, and using such a service will not be any safer than using a known VPN provider.
Creating your own VPN is best suitable for people who just may want to be more secure on public Wi-Fi and want to avoid paying a bigger monthly cost for it.
🔒 What does a VPN do?
- A virtual private network encrypts your data through a VPN tunnel.
🔒 Is VPN legal?
- VPNs are legal in most of the world with the few exceptions being: Russia, China, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Belarus, Oman, and Iran.
🔒 How do I get a VPN?
- You sign up for a free trial and then you have 7-30 days to decide if you want to keep using their service.
🔒 How much does a VPN cost?
- The cost of a VPN varies between 2-10 US dollars per month. With some operators, it can be even lower than that if you subscribe for multiple years at once.
- Read our article on which VPN is the fastest.
- We reviewed the price and features of all popular VPN services: Cheapest VPN of 2021.
SUP46, Start-Up People of Sweden, Regeringsgatan 6th floor, Stockholm
Author Per-Erik Eriksson
Per-Erik-Eriksson is the main author of VPNetic. Everything you read here has been written by him or one of his colleagues. Per-Erik has 10 years of experience within cybersecurity and has previously worked at Microsoft as a software engineer.
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