Our modern world has evolved massively over the past few decades. Technology has been the difference maker in this ever-evolving world, and the most game-changing invention has been the internet. You can research any topic in the world and get hundreds of relevant answers, order food straight to your doorstep without having to talk to another person on the phone, or you can even find a movie or TV show to watch within a matter of seconds on an entertainment platform like Netflix or Disney Plus.
You might think that the internet is synonymous with “freedom”, but you would be wrong. While you can find just about everything on the internet, there are always limitations in place. Whether that’s geo-blocking restrictions or internet censorship, you will always be limited on the internet in one form or another. If either of the two terms above doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry — we’ll cover them very briefly below! But, what you need to know is that these limitations can be overcome, and it’s all thanks to a handy little cybersecurity tool known as a virtual private network, or VPN for short. These cybersecurity tools are made for privacy and security, but they come with some excellent benefits that will give you the ultimate online freedom!
If you’ve never heard of a VPN before, you don’t have to worry. We’re going to carefully explain how this neat little cybersecurity tool works and why you need one. We’ll also explain exactly how to set up a VPN so that you can get your very own VPN up and running within a matter of minutes. Keep reading to get all the details below!
What is a VPN
First of all, what is this cybersecurity tool that we keep talking about? VPNs are mainly designed for privacy and security on the internet. They allow users to browse the internet anonymously by encrypting their internet connection. Whenever your internet connection is encrypted, no one can see what you’re doing on your device while browsing the web.
VPNs are so powerful that they can even hide your browsing history and your internet traffic from the government and your internet service provider. So, they indeed are the best source of privacy and protection. It’s especially important to use one of these tools when you’re using an unsecured network to gain access to the internet. Unsecured networks are often used at public WiFi hotspots which are mostly found at airports, hotels, and restaurants. They may be convenient, but cunning cybercriminals can use these unsecured networks to listen in on your devices as they send and receive data through the Internet. This digital eavesdropping allows hackers to steal crucial information such as login credentials, personal information, and even credit card details — but as long as your VPN is active, you have nothing to worry about!
VPNs can also hide your true location from everyone else on the internet. Websites (and other people) use your IP address to determine your location. An IP address is simply a string of numbers that is used to identify your device on the internet. This identification code can be usually used to pinpoint your geographical location. VPNs hide your real IP address because they allow you to connect to something known as a global server. These secure servers are situated in other countries and cities around the world. When you connect to one of these servers, your internet traffic is routed through the server, and you will be accessing the internet as if you were in the same country where the server is located.
This means that you will see the ads on your browser changing, the default languages on websites changing, and even the currencies on online shops changing. The VPN has now changed your virtual location — and this is where the true power of this cybersecurity tool comes into play.
The Benefits of Using a VPN
Using the true power of a VPN is all about changing your virtual location by connecting to a server in a different country or city around the world.
The first restriction that you might run into is geo-blocking. If you’ve been using the internet for long enough, you’ll likely be familiar with this frustrating limitation because it’s just about everywhere. From YouTube to sports live streams and even Netflix, you have probably encountered that disappointing error message that states: “this content is not available in your region”.
In most cases it all comes down to the laws, licensing, and regulations each country has in place. For movies and TV shows it’s all about the copyright laws that are in place in each country around the world. As for sports, it comes down to the strict regulations that broadcasters need to follow when they buy broadcasting rights for any given sport. However, a VPN allows you to connect to a server in the country where you need to be to access the content. Once you’re connected to the relevant server, you will trick the website into thinking that you’re in the correct region, and it will give you access to the content you’re looking for.
You may also have heard of internet censorship. Most countries around the world have unrestricted internet, which means that you can find just about anything you want to. However, there are some countries where the government will employ strict internet censorship laws that prevent you from accessing specific websites or content on the internet.
In the majority of cases, these internet censorship laws are put in place for either religious or political reasons. Middle Eastern countries, for example, will block websites that have explicit or anti-Islamic content — this is because it goes against their religion. Other countries such as China have blocked foreign news websites, social media platforms, and even Google’s search engine for political reasons.
However, once you launch your VPN and connect to a server in a different country, you can create a tunnel that allows your internet traffic to be routed through the server. This allows you to unblock any websites that have been restricted by internet censorship laws.
How to Install a VPN
So, how do you get hold of this incredible cybersecurity too? It’s very easy, but you need to make sure to follow one golden rule — always use a premium VPN! It might be tempting to use a free VPN, but they come with some serious drawbacks such as slower connection speeds, fewer global servers to choose from, poor encryption technology, and much more.
All you need to do is find the top premium VPNs (such as Surfshark) and head over to their website. Make sure to read thorough and credible reviews before you head over to their website to install them.
You can download the VPN directly from the website, or any major app store if you want to have the cybersecurity tool on your smartphone. Next, you need to create an account with the VPN provider and log in once the app has finished installing on your device.
From there, you simply need to launch the VPN and connect to a global server in another country, and you’re good to go! Enjoy complete freedom on the internet without limitations!