What is a VPN and why it is important?
I recently read a few articles about the importance of using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to search the internet in a hostel, airport or cafe etc whilst traveling. The wifi you connect to whilst you travel is public or semi-public as apposed to your private, password protected, home wifi.
As hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people are able to use the free wifi available to travellers, this also means that any savvy computer geek could easily obtain your passwords, usernames, card details etc.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects you from all of this and it is relatively easy to set up. I don’t feel confident enough to write about it in length (I am sure Google can help find any answers you may have) but in simple terms it creates a barrier, concealing you from everyone else who may be using the public wifi. The main thing that you really need to know is that it is important and necessary if you wish to protect yourself whilst on the road.
Along with protecting your details, a VPN also allows you to surf websites anonymously by hiding and changing your IP address (your ‘online fingerprint’). It can conceal your web browsing history and also allows you to bypass web filters, allowing you to watch, for example, USA Netflix or BBC iPlayer when in another country.
What should I look for in a VPN service?
There are many services out there but it is important to consider your own needs when choosing one to use.
You will firstly need to make sure the app supports the platform you wish to use it on. In my case I would need it for an iPhone and iPad. I would also therefore need to make sure that it does not restrict me from using it on more than one device.
The country you wish to enter is also a significant factor to consider. I have read that looking for a service that works in China is your best bet at making sure the VPN works properly in all countries, as the government in China are the best at blocking VPNs.
Reading some of the users reviews before downloading is helpful as you should make sure that they do not report of any connection speed problems as a VPN can slow everything down.
Finally, from what I have learnt, making sure that the app offers more than one endpoint is a good idea. This will make sure that you are able to access the websites you wish to. If one endpoint blocks a site then you are able to use another option.
Recommended to me:
TunnelBear, BetterHost and HideMyAss!
How do I use a VPN?
Once you have chosen the most suitable app for your needs, all you need to do is download it onto the devices you wish to use in public. Depending on the app you choose, you may need to make sure you start it up after you’ve connected to the Internet.
In some cases you will need to choose a server (or “endpoint”) you’d like to use…another simple step.
It is that simple…
Happy, safe and secure browsing 🙂