30/10/2013
VPN for Beginners

Would you like to be secure online? Completely and 100% secure? If your answer is “yes,” then you need a virtual private network.

A virtual private network, or VPN, establishes a secure “tunnel” through the web from your computer to a VPN service provider. Why do you need such a tunnel? Your online activities such as communicating via e-mail or Facebook can be easily observed by snoopers using simple programs such as Firesheep. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, allowing you to browse the web and communicate free from prying eyes.

Whatever you want to do online, there’s a VPN service to meet your needs. Whether you’re looking to secure business communication with remote employees, or protect your online activities from nosy strangers while using public Wi-Fi networks on your travels, there’s a VPN for you. In this guide we’ll outline what beginners, power users, and IT departments need to know about VPN.

The cheapest and most straightforward way to get access to a VPN is via your organization, company or school. If you don’t need to travel frequently, you can ask your IT department if they provide a VPN service that you can use. If they do, you’re in luck – all you need to do is install and configure the VPN software, and you’re all set. When booting up your machine, you just need to load the VPN application before browsing the internet.

But maybe your IT department doesn’t offer a VPN, or you don’t have an IT department at all. Not to worry. Many VPN providers have recently begun to offer their services from just $5 to $10 per month.

Using a VPN is worth it just for keeping your browsing private, but VPNs provide additional benefits to their users. You can use a VPN to obtain a foreign IP (Internet Protocol) address, allowing you to access content from other countries. Internet users in Canada, for example, are normally blocked from watching U.S. TV programs on Hulu. A VPN can give these users a U.S. IP, unlocking this content.

Another benefit offered by several VPN companies is anonymous internet surfing. This lets you browse the web untracked. ISPs sometimes restrict access to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) applications such as Skype. A VPN can allow you to circumnavigate such restrictions.

These services provided by VPNs may sound like the answer to your prayers. You need to be careful before choosing a VPN provider however – not all VPN providers are up to the job. If a service provider lacks the necessary number of servicers to support its users, you may find that slow internet speeds or problems establishing a connection make using the VPN a frustrating experience.

Before you jump in and sign up to a VPN service, read what its users have to say about it. Even better, try out a VPN service provider for free using a trial contract or free plan such as the one offered by Faceless.me, which lets you explore the advantages of using a VPN before signing up to a paid-for service that may not be right for you.