There is a lot of things going on in the technology era. There is an explosion of all the information around us and we are accessing and consuming it at an ever growing rate.
Even so, we are also being consumed when it comes to our personal information and habits. The multinationals call it the Big Data.
Big Data is nothing but the information which the big companies gather from our consumption of Data.
Google does it, Yahoo does it and so does apple. They all have information about their users, information about what my patterns are and what I am interested into.
This information then is fed into machine learning algorithms to churn out information which then defines what the next product of a particular company would be.
But then this is another topic of discussion, what we are going to talk about is how we could all protect our information consumption and how we could stay protected.
Everyone in the network is vulnerable to getting their data stolen or even spied upon.
The only way to be anonymous in this virtual age is to have your own network and to have your own servers which are encrypting your information on the fly to make it secure.
Now, getting your own private internet network is kind a tough and expensive endeavor and this is where the VPN comes into play.
What is VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and this is what corporates and other organizations have been using to safeguard their data and employees when they are connected to the internet.
VPN creates a virtual network of computers between what you are accessing and from where you are accessing. It then encrypts any information which is sent through the network with industry standard encryption protocols, making it secure.
Also, as an additional bonus, it makes sure that you are completely anonymous as to from where you are accessing the data.
This service has been available to an average user for some time now. Be it the developer working from home or be it the freelance writer form a café, VPN will serve best to keep them safe and anonymous.
Who needs a VPN?
In simple words everyone. While on a public networks, our systems are vulnerable to multiple threats including our information being stolen and our usage patterns being analyzed. It is in everyone’s best interest to get their data confidential.
Most of our systems come with basic protocols like PPTP to set up basic tunneling with 128-bit encryption. But, even that is not enough these days. NSA uses 256-bit encryption for their sensitive data and there is no reason we should not too.
To the core of it, using a VPN will help you protect your passwords from getting stolen and your real location of internet usage being public for anyone to know.
Also, a VPN can help you mask your IP and allow you to access websites otherwise banned in your location.
Different types of VPN and Protocols
There are a no of types of VPN’s out there and like most things each one serves different purposes. The difference is in the protocols which the VPN follows and here are some protocols which you should be aware of before you could look out for your VPN.
This is the most widely used protocol in the market today. PPTP stands for Point-to-Point-Tunneling-Protocol. This allows users to access a remote network using their own internet with easily available software.
A simple password authentication is used to login to the VPN and is super easy to use. The flip-side to it is though that it doesn’t provide high-level encryption (up to 128-bit) and relies on the point-to-point protocol to ensure data security.
This stands for Layer-2-Tunneling-Protocol and is in many ways like PPTP but advanced. L2TP coupled with IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) for packet or data encryption is one of the best types of protocol bundles used by VPN’s to ensure higher levels of encryption and data confidentiality.
A better option than PPTP for sure but if you are looking for speed in your usage it might lag a little compared to the PPTP.
It is an open source technology and uses OpenSSL library and SSLv3/TLSv1 protocols to provide VPN solutions. It is easily customizable and allows for a varied range of encryption for your data.
It is quickly becoming popular among individuals and corporates alike. I myself use OpenVPN for the open source nature of it. Compared to PPTP and L2TP/IPsec it is a little fiddly to setup but once done it is pretty powerful.
Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol was introduced by windows and largely remains a windows only platform. SSTP uses SSL v3 and is in many ways similar to OpenVPN.
This is still a windows dominant protocol and works best with windows machines.
Things to remember before shopping for VPN
Before we could jump into the best possible VPN’s available here are some of the points one should keep in mind before going for one.
It is of utmost priority that the VPN provider supports multiple if not every protocol out there. Depending on which, your flexibility of use of the VPN for various needs would rely on.
For instance, one should be able to switch to L2TP/IPsec protocol and still be flexible enough to use OpenVPN for the ease of use.
This is an important aspect of the VPN service provider which determines the speed of your VPN. The more the no of servers the better is the performance of your VPN connection and the less lag you will have accessing different data online.
Also, do make sure the VPN you choose has a server as close to your location as possible. This also helps in the speed of the connection.
The whole point of using a VPN is to avoid limitations and to be anonymous with your internet usage. There is no point opting for a VPN which doesn’t provide you with unlimited bandwidth and still allows for throttling. It just is not worth it.
While choosing a VPN, make sure that you are looking for a comprehensive solution for your online activity and not just a VPN for your desktop of your mobile phone.
Look for VPN which allows for multiple concurrent connections and you will be a happy person at the end of the day.
The Best VPNs Available
There is a whole host of different VPN services which would provide you with a whole array of different services and performances. The best way to go about it is to know what your requirement is and to find a good VPN for the purpose. Here is a list of a few VPN services which would help you do more than just keep your data secure.
This is a combination of ultra-secure and ultra-fast VPN network at a very competitive price ($8 per month). It is easy to use and is available for all your devices with a clean and clutter-free interface. It also allows up to six simultaneous connections.
Second to NordVPN only due to its pricing. At $12 per month, it is still a great deal considering the ultra-fast download speeds it provides with geographically diverse servers. It also doesn’t keep any logs if you are wondering.
If it was not for its unattractive interface it would have been on the top of our recommendations. It is ultra-fast, has hundreds of servers, has automatic IP address cycling and even has a kill switch.
It is everything anyone would ever want from a VPN.
Everything said, there is a huge amount of information out there in the world for us to get hold of. Keep safe while doing so. Until next time, keep surfing.
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