Here are three words for you: Virtual Private Network (more commonly referred to as VPN). If you’ve never heard of the term, or aren’t sure about its exact nature in our info tech world, then chances are you’ve never utilized one. A VPN is facilitated for several reasons, by individuals and the business sector alike. Anyone who initiates one for their time on the internet will have a variety of reasons. They can vary according to the individual’s needs and wants; scaling from minimal personal usage to access international television programs not available in their region, to encryption and security during time spent in cyberspace. In essence, a VPN is used to secure and encrypt communications when using an untrusted network which is in the public domain.
The latter is the more common theme. In this day and age where big brother seems to lurk in every corner of our internet browser, more and more people, and companies, are resorting to the use of a VPN provider. In fact, as people are educating themselves on the realms of the digital jungle that is fast becoming a second home, the VPN is becoming a common household name. And why not? With hackers at the ready to steal your sensitive information, and government regimes watching and monitoring your every move, the VPN is now an essential addition to add to our daily internet rituals. In essence, public networks are cesspits, and if we dwell in them too long, without the correct protective elements, then we tend to ‘pick up’ those bugs which dwell in them.
When you use a VPN, the usual presentation is to launch a VPN client on your personal computer. You log in; your computer then “exchanges trusted keys with a server,” and once both systems have been authentically verified, your communication on the internet is secure.
However, not all VPNs are created equally. When searching for the right VPN for your own use, it is important to know what it is you are signing up for, and who with. You need to take into consideration connectivity protocols, features and server locations. The best VPNs will offer a good selection on these criteria. Most importantly, the VPN Provider should have a so called ‘no-logging policy’ which ensures that no user activity will be logged.
You need to be aware of other considerations such as trusting your provider with your data. In other words, what do they log? Everything outside of your VPN server is secure from eavesdropping, but those sharing the same provider may have access to your data. Some VPN providers keep logs in case a government requests them, so decide what is acceptable to you when it comes to logging.  AnonHQ recommends IPVanish as it fulfills all criteria regarding speed, security, support of all mobile devices and most importantly anonymity and safety: “IPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service”
Other features you may want to consider are:
- Does your VPN provider offers Anti Malware/Spyware?
- Do you have the option of securing your phone along with your computer via Mobile Apps?
- Pricing of the provider.
- Exit Servers if you want a country specific VPN.
Essentially, the million dollar question to ask yourself when you are considering a VPN (or not) is: how secure do you want to be next time you surf the net?
Links: IPVanish VPN (recommended by AnonHQ.com)