What is VPN?

Anyone who connects to the internet on a regular basis should have some basic knowledge about what’s a VPN and how they work. Essentially, a VPN is a tool that keeps you private online while also allowing you to change the geographical location from which you access the web. Ever worried about having your banking details stolen or gotten annoyed at your favourite movies only being available on American Netflix? Read on to find out what exactly a VPN is and how it is relevant to you.

What is a VPN connection?

VPN: Explained

A VPN is a pretty simple idea once you get to the root of the concept. In order to explain it to you we’ve stripped away the technical jargon and created an analogy which shows how exactly a VPN works.

Imagine you decided to go travelling…

So you’ve decided you want to go travelling this summer. Now let’s say that you are being a bit cheap and have decided that the only mode of transport you will take is the Megabus. As you probably know, there are many disadvantages to travelling by Megabus. Firstly, you can’t expect any privacy on the bus and if you aren’t being careful you may even get something stolen. Plus, travelling by bus is pretty restrictive as you can only go to destinations on the Megabus route.

What’s the Megabus got to do with this?

Well, travelling by Megabus is similar to connecting to a web server on the internet. Just like you have no control over your privacy on the bus, you also have no control over your privacy online. This means that personal data can be collected and used by the government, businesses and hackers alike. Moreover, just like the Megabus restricts where you can travel, your IP address (a unique set of numbers that helps identify your computer on the internet) also restricts what you can access on the web, meaning no American Netflix for you.

So how can a VPN help?

Now imagine that instead you travel exclusively by private plane. Nobody is able to watch what you are doing while travelling and it’s pretty much impossible for people to steal your stuff. This is basically how a VPN works as encryption technology keeps your online data hidden from prying eyes and cybercriminals. Even better, much like how a private plane allows you to jetset all over the world, a VPN gives you the ability to access whatever web content you want, no matter your geographical location.

5 everyday examples of when you should use a VPN

Don’t think a VPN is relevant to you? Think again

  1. When using public wifi - Did you know that anyone with basic hacking knowledge can access all the information flying around public wifi spots? Using a VPN will protect you from getting your credit card details stolen at your local coffee shop.
  2. When living abroad - A VPN means you can watch the latest episode of the Great British Bake Off from the other side of the world.
  3. When travelling - Not only does a VPN safeguard you from the dangers of public wi-fi and allow you to access content from home but it will also stop you getting locked out of your online banking when accessing it from another country.
  4. When looking for a deal online - Strangely enough anything from software to flights can cost a different price depending on what country you are buying it from. Experimenting with changing your geolocation could save you serious money.
  5. When you just feel like being private - Few British people are aware of the fact that our government has some of the most extensive spying capabilities in the world. Using a VPN stops the government (and data selling businesses) tracking your every click online.

What is a VPN? It’s internet freedom and privacy for all!

So who exactly should be using a VPN?

The answer to that is: everyone! As you can see VPNs aren’t only for the super-techy but are instead vital for anyone who wants to access the web safely, privately and without restriction. As the internet has grown to become such an integral part of everyday life, it is vital that people have easy access to the tools that can keep them safe online. So if you’re using the internet to work, learn, shop, chat or stay entertained then you should definitely know what a VPN is and how to use one.

How to get a VPN and who to trust

Most importantly to us, using a VPN means that you can be safe in the knowledge that nobody, whether it be prying governments or criminals, can track what you are doing online. At ZenMate we offer a free version of our software so that you can try it out for yourself before choosing to upgrade to the premium service. As a German company, it is illegal for us to store any of your personal data, meaning we could never provide your information to the government or sell it on to third parties. It’s really vital that you learn about these issues before deciding which companies to trust online. So go out there and educate yourself, or risk riding the Megabus for life.

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