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Why VPNs are Smart Investments

Why VPNs are Smart Investments

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When it comes to VPNs, most people think of the privacy benefits. It’s nice to know that you’re protected from being spied on by hackers or government entities. Nobody wants to broadcast their browsing or download history to the public after all. And VPNs are absolutely great services to that end. What people don’t realize is that using them leads to a lot of other cost saving benefits too. It’s all part of a package that making VPNs a great investment, especially for the cheapest VPN prices. Below are five ways VPNs can really help your bottom line.

Preventing Identity Theft

Most people don’t realize the dangers of public wifi hotspots. They’re one of the easiest routes hackers take to stealing your information. With the right tools, a hacker can hijack your personal details such as home address, birth dates, passwords, credit cards, bank accounts, and social security numbers. Basically anything that you type or have typed on your computer is at risk. Obviously public wifi is very convenient though, and people who work from coffee shops or libraries may find it difficult to live without. Even using the internet from a secured network at home brings it’s own risks as you are constantly broadcasting your public IP. While this doesn’t present a risk of exposing more personal details like with a wifi hotspot, it is something that can be very damaging if you visit the wrong site.

VPNs help in both of the above cases by two mechanisms. The first is that a VPN encrypts all of the data you transmit over the internet. Most VPN services use an AES-256 bit OpenVPN protocol, which most hackers simply aren’t equipped to deal with. Additionally, connecting through another network provides an added layer of privacy to maintain your anonymity. You may not need a VPN for at home use to stay safe, but anyone that ever connects to public wifi hotspots absolutely does. With how expensive identity theft can be, there’s no doubt how smart of an investment a VPN can be for you. We strongly recommend looking at a VPN with automatic wifi connection such as CyberGhost VPN.

Cheaper Airfare and Hotels

Did you know that your airline and hotel prices are influenced by where you’re shopping from? Did you know that sometimes prices inflate after multiple visits from the same IP? Both of these factors are reasons why a VPN is a smart investment for travel goers. Pricing in the travel industry is very complex, and you can take advantage of that by altering your location. It may take some extra effort connecting to different countries all over the world, but it could also mean savings of hundreds of dollars. Frequent travelers will get the best bang of their buck, and should consider something like ExpressVPN with over 1,000 servers in 94 different countries.

Unblock Streaming Content

If you’ve ever tried to watch an international sports game or a regional Netflix/Hulu show, you’ll know how frustrating blocked content is. One of the more common uses for VPNs is to bypass these blocks. This means savings from having to purchase events that you would otherwise have access to if you lived elsewhere in the world. It ultimately boils down to more options for how you access streaming content, which will always be cheaper.

Faster Downloads

ISPs like Comcast have been accused time and time again of throttling their users’ internet speeds. They’ll restrict frequently used services such as P2P downloads or streaming Netflix so that they give you less data. Of course, they also a handy solution to this – pay them more money. Instead of giving an ISP like Comcast an extra $40 a month, you could see the same performance increases with a VPN that costs $40 per year. IPVanish is smart choice here as its one of the fastest VPNs around (meaning there’s minimal interference against your regular bandwidth). VPNs won’t increase download speeds just by themselves. However, if you feel like your local ISP is throttling your internet below your paid for speeds then a VPN is a very smart investment to make.

P2P Torrenting

One of the biggest reasons people use torrent is to download digital goods they don’t own. We can’t condone or encourage that activity – artists and developers deserve that money. In short, pirating copyrighted software, music, and movies is illegal. That doesn’t mean all P2P torrenting uses are illegal though. Unfortunately, even legal file sharing can sometimes by met with scrutiny. In these cases you may not be doing anything wrong, but may need to hire a lawyer to prove it. That’s certainly very expensive. Certain services get around this by guaranteeing they don’t record any logs of your activity. That means whatever server you connect will keep your identity hidden. Even those engaging in legal torrenting might find it’s just smarter to invest in a VPN than risk false allegations. It’s also worth noting that not every VPN allows P2P torrenting. Be sure to review our best VPNs for torrenting if that’s something you want.

Clearly a Smart Investment

With the prepaid plan prices of VPNs ranging anywhere from $2.95 to $5.83 per month, they aren’t especially expensive. And with all of the ways they could save you money or time, it means that buying a VPN is one of the smartest investments you can make.

 

How VPNs Protect Privacy

How VPNs Protect Privacy

Do you want to know how VPNs protect privacy? A Virtual Private Network (VPN), enables you to receive and send data across public or shared networks as if your computer, mobile, or gaming devices were connected directly to a private network. For instance, you can create a secure connection over a less secure network between the Internet and your computer using a VPN. This informative post looks at how VPNs protect privacy, types of VPNs, and what to consider when choosing them.

VPN Privacy Benefits Overview

  • When using VPN services, you benefit from the security, management policies, and privacy that the private network provides. That helps you in the case that your existing network infrastructure can’t support it.
  • Once you connect your computer to the VPN, it will act as if it’s on the same network as the VPN network since all your online traffic will get transferred over a secure connection to the VPN.
  • Your computer will behave as if it’s on the VPN network, allowing you to gain access to local network resources securely, regardless of your location. VPN services are especially ideal if you are using public Wi-Fi since you will use the internet as if you were present at the VPN’s physical location.
  • When browsing the internet on a VPN, your computer will use encrypted VPN connection to contact the website. The VPN will then forward your requests to the website and then forward the responses back from the site’s server using a secure connection.

When getting to know how VPNs protect privacy, it’s important to know that they are of 3 types.

Remote-Access VPN

This kind of VPN uses public infrastructure, the internet for example, to provide secure access to their network for remote users. This is very common with orporate or organizational systems. The reason is that their employees need security to connect to public hotspots when using the internet to send things like work-related emails. Users link to a VPN gateway on the company’s network using their mobile or computer devices.

It will require you as the user to authenticate or prove your identity. It will then create a link to your device that allows it to reach internal company resources, for example, file servers and printers as if you are on the same local network. The gateway relies on Internet Protocol Security IPSec or Secure Socket Layer SSL to secure your connection.

Mobile VPN

Mobile VPNs enables you to avoid data loss and slower speeds when using VPN services while giving you high levels of security. The reason is that traditional VPNs can affect your experience when using them on wireless devices. They provide secure access for your mobile devices to software applications and network resources.

If you are facing limited battery life, bandwidth issues or coverage gaps, they will be ideal. If you browse the Internet using devices such as a mobile, laptop or desktop, consider VPN services such as ExpressVPN.

Site-To-Site VPN

This type of VPN service uses a gateway device to connect you to an entire network in one location to another network in another location. The majority of site-to-site VPNs use IPSec to connect to the Internet.

Bear in mind that VPNs are commonly defined between specific computers, which in most cases are servers in various data centers. However, new hybrid-access situations have transformed the VPN gateway in the Cloud. That’s with a common secure link into the internal link from the cloud service provider.

What to Consider When Buying VPN Services

Knowing how VPNs protect privacy is important when it comes to protecting your data when browsing. Below we look at the 4 key factors when privacy is the biggest factor for deciding to subscribe to a VPN service.

Additional Security Features

When it comes to VPN services, keep in mind that privacy features are different from security features. The reason is that privacy features are there to protect your online identity. Security features, on the other hand, include factors such as anti-malware, anti-spyware and anti-virus.

If this is important, consider purchasing VPNs like NordVPN with features that will give you privacy online in addition to protecting your computing devices from malicious software such as viruses. That’s because you may download an infected file accidentally when browsing. A VPN with an antivirus will alert you when you encounter them and prevent you from storing them on your hard drive. It’s one extra layer of protection in addition to any anti-virus software you may already have on your computer.

Logging Policies

Bear in mind that you use VPN services to keep sent and received data on the internet private. Some VPN services have no logging policy, which means they don’t keep your personal information or history.

However, others keep a log of all your activities, which makes you vulnerable to cyber threats. If privacy is important to you, we strongly recommend a VPN that maintains your privacy and guarantee your anonymity when online.

Determine Protocols

VPNs offer a variety of protocols, each intended for certain purposes. These protocols provide differing levels of anonymity, security and privacy. Most VPN providers offer all of the major protocols so this will ultimately come down to comfort level. There are also sacrifices to be made at higher levels of encryption. For example, OpenVPN isn’t as fast as PPTP, but it’s a lot more secure. Business users will especially want to select the right protocols as they may otherwise be vulnerable to cyber threats.

Cost & Convenience

Price obviously affects the quality of a VPN. You may opt for free ones, but you won’t enjoy the privacy options that you may need. It’s possible to hide some things from your ISP with a free VPN, but in no way should you feel completely walled off from prying eyes. You also want a VPN that provides you with high-security levels, especially in business matters that involve a lot of sensitive information. For instance, seek out a VPN that will ensure that protection of your bank information, credit card numbers and passwords while keeping you anonymous. Luckily, the VPN industry is extremely competitive. There are always great deals running on six-month and annual subscriptions. Consider your needs holistically, and take a look at our list of top features for the top VPNs.

Final Thoughts

VPNs are highly useful tools that are easy to use and can be utilized in a wide range of activities. The above informative post on how VPNs protect privacy should get you to consider buying them. Read online reviews to find out how efficient each of these individual services are. If you walk away with just one message from this, remember to always check their logging policies.

5 Reasons for a VPN: I Know Where You Live

5 Reasons for a VPN: I Know Where You Live

Your IP address is 124.243.136.43 and you live in  Timboon, Victoria (Australia). But wait – don’t worry, I’m not recording this, and I’m not saying this to scare you. The whole purpose of this article is to educate, not track you for some nefarious purpose. But is everyone like that on the internet? You can bet your digital life that the answer is no. That’s why VPN services are becoming so popular.

An IP address is a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. Knowing someone’s IP address is the first step to knowing who is behind the computer. A VPN hides your IP address from third parties by routing you through one of their servers first. This mean that only the VPN service is aware of who you are. Some VPNs like ExpressVPN don’t even record those connection details. It’s these types of services that enable true internet anonymity, especially when paying with something untraceable like Bitcoin. Of course, there is more to the story than a simple IP address trick.

I

Who am I? I could be anyone. I could be a small business owner or I could be a scrupulous individual trying to steal your identity. You absolutely should not blindly trust any site on the internet (including this one). Most sites are fine, but without a VPN or anti-malware software, you are on your own. Be especially wary of any site with a lot of javascript or popups you can’t close.

It took me less than 5 minutes to setup the geolocation tracker above. Someone far smarter and with far more time than me could scrap even more data from a simple website visit. Remember, your IP address ultimately identifies your individual computer or mobile device. On top of that, javascript that runs unfettered can wreck havoc on your computer. It’s for this reason that VPNs like Hotspot Shield integrate advertisement and malware blocking with their service. This provides double protection while browsing the internet. First, no one will know your actual IP address. Secondly, it’s much harder to access sensitive data when you’re actively blocking access to it.

Know

What do I know about you from your IP? Just the information I detailed earlier – city, state, country, maybe zip code. I can’t discover your actual address without a subpoena from your local law enforcement. Of course, if a VPN doesn’t record logs there’s nothing to give them. One VPN service was even tested recently on their no log policy. Private Internet Access boasts recording no usage logs of any kind for their customers. When a subpoena was issued to them regarding the internet activity of a Preston McWaters, they had nothing to provide. It’s this type of service you’ll want to keep an eye out for when shopping for a VPN. A lot of them promise no logs, but it’s not something you can verify unless it gets tested like it did with Private Internet Access.

Where

How much does it say to know your country or city? Depending on the density of your location, I can surmise your religion, ethnicity, and age. Generally though, this information is just used to modify website content like advertisements to serve tailor-made content. It’s all rather innocuous (aside from getting you to open your wallet). However, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can easily trace the IP address they assign to you to access the internet. In countries like the United States, this information can now be sold in aggregate from ISPs to advertisers (supposedly with no personally identifiable information). It may not result in anything negative for you, but it is certainly unnerving. That’s why we wholeheartedly support the privacy that VPNs provide. By connecting to a VPN first, an ISP can only see that connection and not what you’re doing while on it.

You

Who are you? Why do I care? You have money, a life, information, and tons of other things that might matter to me. There are so many ways to profit off of individuals and almost all of them feel pretty dirty. It’s quite possible those details were already used to drive you this very article. Look, I’m sorry. I do hope you forgive me, and I hope this information has been worth it so far. But there’s more to a VPN than just protecting your privacy (though that’s especially important if you like torrenting at all).

A lot of internet content is restricted to specific geographical locations. For example, online streams of local sports games can only be accessed by people in the area. Netflix restricts shows and movies by country. The BBC only allows visitors from the UK to watch programs like Sherlock on their online iPlayer platform. With the availability to connect to thousands of servers in dozens of countries, all of those geographical restrictions fade away. If that’s news to you, check out the best VPNs for bypassing streaming restrictions.

Live

As I said before, none of this is meant to scare you. The likelihood of anything bad happening to the average internet user is extremely low. The problem is that something happening can be catastrophic. Who here is actually comfortable revealing their entire internet history? I know I’m not. Even worse, identity thieves and law enforcement are no laughing matter. The privacy and security that VPNs provide is a lot like insurance. It doesn’t cost very much, but it can save you so much. If your privacy and online safety is valuable to you, choose something with a wide array of features like NordVPN. If price is a concern or you travel a lot, PureVPN is also a good option. A 2-year subscription with them is a very reasonable $2.95/month and offers VPN servers in 140 countries to ensure safety and speed while traveling abroad.

No matter what you choose, at least you’re a little more aware of why VPNs are increasing so dramatically in popularity. Fair’s fair though so if you’d like more information about us, our About page is a perfection destination.

How VPNs Affect Internet Speed

How VPNs Affect Internet Speed

vpn internet speed

VPN services come with amazing benefits that are mostly centered on ensuring that your internet surfing is secured from malicious hackers. However, the question of how these services affect speed has become one of the biggest queries to VPN subscribers. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple question to answer as there are multiple factors that may influence VPN speeds. The most significant factor being the level of security, but that’s far from the only thing at play. There are actually some elements of the equation where you may see an uptick in your VPN speed. Below are a list of things to consider when deciding the best VPN to purchase.

VPN Protocol & Encryption

The most popular protocols used with VPN service providers are SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/ IPSec. Each of these protocols come with unique advantages as well as differences that affect which is the fastest VPN protocol. For example, OpenVPN is reputed for its state of the art encryption, which is sometimes detrimental to speed levels. SSTP, on the other hand, offers moderate encryption with fast connection speeds. However, SSTP is available only on Windows Vista and above. For purely speed considerations, PPTP is the fastest VPN protocol due to its relatively weak encryption. Quite simply, higher levels of encryption and security will slow down your internet speeds. It’s generally recommended to find a VPN provider who offers multiple protocol options so that you can maintain privacy when needed (like checking email) or opt for speed when desired (like for streaming).

VPN Server Proximity

The distance between a user and a VPN server plays a significant role in influencing internet speeds. What this implies is that the closer you are to the VPN server the faster the connections will be. For example connecting from Japan to a Server in California may yield very low connection speeds and even disruptions. This slowness in connection is attributed to the fact that a data packet has to travel over longer distances to and from the servers. For ultimate VPN speeds find, we could recommend seeking a VPN service provider with servers close to you or your country.

It should be noted that it is possible to improve pings or speed in very niche situations based on server proximity. For a particular service (or say, an online game) you may be getting routed to a particular server that’s farther away from you than another server. Using a VPN could get you onto that faster server to improve overall speed, but this mostly comes up when said service is poorly optimized.

VPN Server Load

This factor is related to the number of users connected to a particular VPN Server. If the number of users connected to a certain server is too high, then there is going to be significantly lower connection speeds. This problem is mostly common to free VPN subscribers. In such cases, you are advised to try connecting to another server in the same region. However, free VPNs have no real control as they rely on third parties to provide their services. These free VPNs are quickly overrun and more importantly, cannot be considered near as safe as commercial services. Typically more servers will mean a better distribution of the server loads, and this is a primary factor in how we rate VPNs for speed in our VPN reviews.

ISP Speed Limit

This may seem rather intuitive, but it’s important to point out that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) plays the biggest role in your VPN speed. VPN providers put in all measures to ensure that they have seamless and unaffected speeds. However, your internet service provider(ISP) has the final word on the highest browsing speeds that you can attain. The level of interconnection between your VPN server and the ISP is a major determinant of your browsing speeds. VPN subscribers with a minimum of 10Mbps through their ISP should see little impact from this element.

One sneaky thing that some ISPs like to do is throttle their customers’ internet speed based on activities. For instance, major ISPs like Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T have all been accused on limiting their users’ speeds when accessing Netflix. One thing a VPN allows you to do is side skirt this because all they see is you connecting to another random server, not to Netflix specifically. And this can affect more than just Netflix so a VPN can actually improve your speed by hiding the information ISPs use to throttle your internet.

Firewall

It’s fairly uncommon for a subscriber’s firewall to slowdown the overall VPN performance. However, if the speeds are not quite what you’re expecting or you like to tweak for optimization, firewalls are an easy place to start. Most VPN providers can assist in offering support to properly configure these firewall settings to maximize speed.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, it’s clear that VPN connections may affect internet speeds in a variety of ways. That doesn’t mean that one should avoid them though. The numerous advantages of why you should choose a VPN far outweigh the limitations on speed. And as discussed above, there are tips and tricks that any reputable VPN provider will be able to assist with. That’s why it is important to a provider with a track record of reliability. The best VPNs should have enough servers across the globe to cater to their clients’ needs regardless of their location. VyprVPN is reputed to have over 700 servers across the world and over 200,000 IPs. These attributes put such a provider in a competent position to provide reliable VPN speeds. Customization is also another key consideration in order to tweak encryption/speed levels by activity. ExpressVPN is considered one of the best in this regard, with speeds upwards of 30Mbps even with the heavily encrypted OpenVPN protocol.

Online security has become a key consideration while browsing the internet. It’s important stay protected from anyone who might stand to profit from spying on you, but nobody wants to sacrifice their high speed internet to stay safe. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to have your cake and eat it too.

What VPN Protocol is Best to Use

What VPN Protocol is Best to Use

One of the most confusing things when first beginning to search for a VPN provider is all of the different protocols available. If you aren’t very familiar with the technology, it’s hard to assess the value in all of the differences. It’s important to understand what you’re buying though and whether the VPN service you choose offers everything you need.

VPN protocols play a critical role in impacting both the privacy and speed of a VPN service. We recommend reading this short article to quickly learn about how they all differ. It’s been kept as non-technical as possible to only provide the details that matter to the average user. This should  help you determine which protocols are best for which activity, regardless of the VPN service.

PPTP

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol has been around since before the turn of the century. As with many technologies of that time, it’s been rendered obsolete for providing privacy and security. PPTP implementation varies, but the most common shipped with Microsoft Windows 95. It’s 128-bit encryption is a far cry from the 256-bit standard of more secure protocols. The NSA can easily decrypt PPTP communications. However, it’s better than nothing and it’s outdated encryption is extremely lightweight. This means it’s the fastest protocol available for common VPN usage. PPTP is useful for streaming service like Netflix since speed is paramount over privacy.

L2TP/IPsec

Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol doesn’t actually provide any encryption so IPsec is almost universally implemented alongside it. Best VPN Now doesn’t even list VPN providers with only L2TP since it would be pretty useless for the majority of readers. The process for IPsec is typically run through an internet key exchange on both ends. Port UDP 500 is used for L2TP in this exchange, which is relevant because it is sometimes blocked by NAT firewalls. This may result in additional port forwarding configurations.

The data is encapsulated twice and generally considered secure. This adds to the security but makes it slower than other protocols except for OpenVPN (which can be faster or slower depending on configuration). However, Edward Snowden has hinted that the NSA may have “cracked” IPsec though so one cannot confidentially state it is 100% secure. It’s generally advised to use as a backup to the OpenVPN protocol since L2TP/IPsec is available on more devices but is less secure.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is an open source technology that is currently the tried and true gold standard of VPN privacy. This means that tons of extremely intelligent people are frequently checking for vulnerabilities and collectively improving the protocol to keep users of it safe. It uses the OpenSSL library along with several other technological foundations to build a secure VPN solution. One of the key aspects of OpenVPN’s security is its support of AES-256 bit encryption. This is algorithm is used by the US government and most major financial institutions to protect their most sensitive data.

The slowest VPN protocol is typically OpenVPN. This is pretty logical since encoding and decoding data simply takes more time to compute. It’s highly configurable nature also means firewall issues are rare but it can be more difficult to setup. Usually these configurations are limited by VPN providers to make them easier to use though. These configurations almost always include AES-256 bit encryption and are geared more towards privacy than anything else. As such, it’s recommended to use OpenVPN where privacy is the biggest concern.

SSTP

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol and as such, is generally only available on Microsoft products (though it’s an option for Linux users now). Because it is closed off from external peer review, it’s difficult to assess the privacy SSTP provides. Most experts agree that it is an improvement over PPTP and IPsec, but that OpenVPN is still the best chance for maintaining anonymity.

Microsoft has worked with the NSA in the past and thus may have left intentional backdoors for them to use. That said, the NSA is far from the only organization that might want to spy on what you’re doing. SSTP is very easy to setup and use. If you’re more concerned with non-government spying and use Windows then SSTP is a great option for anyone encountering issues with OpenVPN.

IKEv2

Internet Key Exchange v2 is basically the next iteration of L2TP/IPsec. Like the other protocol, IKEv2 is run through an internet key exchange on both ends. However, it offers very many improvements over simple IPsec. It’s extremely fast and is comparable to PPTP in that regard. Unlike PPTP though it actually provides a secure level of privacy thanks to using the AES-256 bit cipher. This speed plays a critical role when used in mobile devices or computers connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi. IKEv2 is very fast to reconnect after a lost internet connection so the chance of sending unencrypted data is much lower.

The downside to IKEv2 is that there are lots of moving parts that the user doesn’t have full control over. This can result in compatibility issues. Such as is the case with OpenVPN configurations, this is usually taken care of by the VPN provider itself. Even then it’s possible to have problems. Because of its relative complexity, IKEv2 is the least likely protocol to be supported by a VPN service. Some of the top VPN providers like NordVPN do offer a choice between all five major VPN protocols. Ultimately, IKEv2 is probably the best choice for wireless devices, at least when it’s available.