For most the acronym “VPN” which stands for virtual private network is associated with a work computer. Historically VPNs are used by big companies, government agencies, and even medium size businesses to digitally interconnect remote office and or individual employee computers. The virtual network plays a paramount role in maintaining online security for these organizations. Today this is still true, but the scope of their use and the availability to the everyday user has dramatically expanded.
Currently an entire market has evolved around providing VPN services for people to use on their personal laptops and computers. Moving past just work related use, the virtual private network is quickly becoming the go to service of choice for the private citizen. There are now a plethora of private VPN providers available for anyone looking for an easy, effective and inexpensive way to secure their laptops and personal computing devices from snoopers, data thieves, and other ill-intentioned online activities. For a few bucks a month one can pick up a subscription that will encrypt all their Internet traffic before it even leaves their computer. Their traffic is then sent on to a VPN server that will unencrypt it and forward on to its original intended destination. All returning traffic comes back through the server where it is again encrypted and sent back to the user.
Encrypting the Internet connation for a personal laptop provides the follow benefits.
First and foremost a VPN will protect you while using any public connection.
Prevents hackers from using programs like EffeTech HTTP Sniffer, Ace Password Sniffer, etc. to capture your e-mail, website communications, and passwords. When a laptop is connected to a public Wi-Fi anyone also on can easily download all traffic that everyone else is sending. Then later, at their leisure, sort through it for passwords and personal information. If your data was encrypted then all spying eyes will see is a bunch of unreadable jumbled up mess. You will be safe.
Provides a high level of privacy when your computer is connected through your home, school, or work internet service provider.
Privacy is a major concern these days. It is not just the NSA that spies on people though. There is a good chance that even when you are connected through a paid internet service provider there is some level of spying going on. Many ISPs that provide the Internet connections to people’s homes and businesses scan what goes through their servers to and from your house. Some will even “throttle” and “shape” your connection dependent on who you are connecting to out on the www. ISPs can make connections to competitive services like streaming video or voice not work as well in order to give themselves an advantage. If you find Netflix, Hulu, Skype, etc. not working so well this is a possible cause. Many users have found that hiding this traffic from their ISP by encrypting through a VPN enables them to get the full services that they paid for.
Many Schools and businesses will also block access to websites that they feel detracts from the educational or work environment. So even though you are on your personal computer and on break you might not be able to check your Facebook status or visit some other favorite webpage. This is an easy fix if you have a personal VPN connection on your laptop. You can still connect through a school or work internet connection, but what goes on between your personal computer and the Internet will be encrypted preventing the institution from blocking you.
Makes your computer anonymous on the Internet
Besides protecting your internet connection, having access to a personal private network gives you a highly anonymous proxy. Your Internet traffic is routed through a server that will hide your laptops IP address from the websites you visit as well as from the ISP you connect through. Many VPN providers try to keep as few logs as possible. Some logging nothing of any reall identifiable value other than the fact that you logged in but not where you surfed. Also most VPN providers have multiple IP address with many users running over them at the same time. Furthermore, with some services it is possible to sign up and pay anonymously. This allows a user to maintain a very high level of anonymous browsing.
A VPN enables your laptop to travel virtually around the world. See the Internet from the perspective of different physical locations around the world.
Another wonderful aspect of obtaining a subscription to a VPN for your personal computer is you can see the Internet as though you were logged in from another country. Almost all virtual networks span several countries across the globe. Some like HMA VPN maintaining servers in around seventy countries! When you route your Internet traffic through one of these servers it appears to everyone out on the web that you are logging in from that server location. This can not only be interesting but also give the user the ability to unlock websites that are restricted to specific geographical locations. It can also be used to shop as though you were located from another country. Some people login from their personal mobile computing devices to gain access to additional apps that are limited geographically, click here to read our review of HMA VPN.
So when the words Virtual Private Network are tossed around they very well may mean a lot more than some kind of technology used for work. Work is what started it, most definitely, but a VPN belongs in the “Play”, “Private”, and “Personal” categories as well. Get a personal VPN for your laptop or personal computer. Get protected, become anonymous and see the Internet from a whole new perspective.