What is a VPN? Why do I need it?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a means of encrypting your Internet traffic before sending it out, and decrypting it again on the other end. Preventing anyone in the middle from being able to see what that traffic consists of. Think of it as a pipe inside a pipe. The ISP owns the outside pipe. They can see what is running through that pipe. But you own the inside pipe. So, all the ISP sees is that there is another pipe inside theirs. A pipe you control and only you can see what is running through. In fact, the technical term for this is called “tunneling”. Your traffic tunnels through theirs, so to speak.

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VPNs have been around since 1996. The first VPN was developed by Microsoft and used a protocol called PPTP, or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. The tunnel was born. Since that time, the basics have remained the same, but the encryption methods used have become more and more sophisticated as to be virtually uncrackable. So much so, that companies and government agencies routinely send sensitive data from one place to the other using a VPN. Just as if they were sending it inside their own private network. Thus the name Virtual Private Network.  With the advent of streaming content using applications such as Kodi and the increased risk of copyright infringement, using a VPN has become more important than ever.

Because a VPN is so secure, you can do more on the go. Would you connect to the free WiFi in the coffee shop and proceed to check your bank accounts? Sounds risky. And, without a VPN, it would be. But just connect to your VPN and surf the web, stream Kodi or check your bank account over your own personal, highly encrypted link.  You can even use your Fire Stick or Fire TV in a hotel room to stream Kodi or Netflix without anyone being the wiser. Any time you can connect to the Internet, you can be connected through your VPN.

But security, while being the main benefit of a VPN, is not the only benefit. Imagine you decide to retire to Colombia. Now you want to watch Kodi or YouTube or Netflix and discover that the content has been geographically restricted. Since a VPN has created this highly secure connection for you, you can also choose where you would like that connection to physically be. With a VPN, you can be in Thailand and appear to be in the UK. So, you can not only enjoy the content from your home country, you can enjoy the content that is only available in other countries as well. A VPN would appear to be a must for the foreign movie lover.

Using a VPN can also improve the performance of your Internet connection overall. Let’s face it. Your ISP is running a business. The need to cram as much traffic through their network as possible, while guaranteeing a minimum level of bandwidth to each customer. So, in order to squeeze some traffic down so they can fit more, they throttle or limit the speed of CERTAIN traffic. So, you run your speed test and you are blazing! But when you start streaming Kodi on your Fire Stick or Fire TV, your ISP sees that and slows that traffic down. With a VPN, they can’t tell one kind of traffic from another. Because, remember, they can’t see what’s in your pipe. They just see a stream of highly encrypted data.

We certainly know that the government is watching your Internet usage. If you are lucky, your government isn’t censoring your Internet content. Imagine that you are living in China. You can’t watch what you want. If you are an expat, you can’t read the news, certainly. Or if you live in some countries where pornography is prohibited and censored from their Internet. Well, just like the VPN can hide your traffic from your ISP, it is the same for the government. Literally, no one can see your traffic. Not only that, but the government can’t determine your physical location, either. So, you are completely free to see and watch and do whatever you want, in whatever country you want, WITHOUT RESTRICTION.

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What is a VPN? Why do I need it? was last modified: February 8th, 2019 by

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