Virtual Private Networks (VPN) is a technology that enables a computer to send and receive data across a network by establishing a connection through the use of dedicated connections, virtual tunneling protocols, or traffic encryption.
The basic principle is that once you establish a secure connection, the server handles all of your internet on the back-end which secure connection to the internet, where your traffic can not be “intercepted” or monitored.
For many years I have used VPN technology for work to connect my laptop to my corporate network, but I had grown increasingly aware of the need for my personal use as well.
The most important thing you need to know about a VPN: It secures your computer’s internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes.
I travel a lot for work and pleasure, and I am constantly on planes, coffee shops and hotels accessing all kinds of WiFi networks.
When you connect to a VPN, you usually launch a VPN client on your computer, , log in with your credentials, and your computer establishes a trusted connection with a far away server. Once both computers have verified each other as authentic, all of your internet communication is encrypted and secured from eavesdropping.
A *very big* added benefit of a VPN service:
No matter what city / location I am at, you are connecting to a “home” server and there for surfing the internet as if I was physically located there. This comes very handy when I am outside the country overseas or connected to a network that blocks certain sites (ie: Facebook, Gmail, etc) … [ Yes it happens often in the corporate world still! ] Typically once I connect to the VPN, I can access everything I need…
There are many companies that provide VPN services. I looked at several of the key service providers, and after comparing them I selected StrongVPN which has served me very well for about 2 years now, and I have been very pleased with their service and responsive customer support. I highly recommend them!
My selection criteria included thing like:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited Speed
- Anonymous IP Address
- PPTP and L2TP Protocol support
- No monitoring or logging of traffic
- Support for multiple devices (iPad/ Laptop/ Android)
I wrote a post about a while back on the VPN provider options I consider, if you are interesed.
A good graphic representing the reasons to use a VPN follow:
Beyond Personal VPN:
With all of the conversation about privacy, monitoring of Internet traffic and how easy it is to hack internet connections, I am considering setting up a VPN that will serve my house, and all of the devices there. More on this coming up..