How to use a VPN (virtual private network)

If you’re working remotely or want extra privacy, a VPN could be for you…

10 May 2020

VPNs (virtual private networks) are a really popular app to download these days. In fact, almost one in four of the world’s internet population have given one a try.

A lot more of us are working from home, and that’s one of the main things that VPNs are being used for. But there's more to them than that. They actually offer quite a few benefits around internet privacy and security. So, let’s take a closer look at what they’re all about.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

Basically, a VPN securely connects your smartphone, tablet or PC to another network somewhere in the world. You can then browse the internet using that connection.

This give you an extra layer of security between your device and the internet, and it keeps you anonymous. There are a few reasons why you’d want to do this…

Why would I want a VPN?

The main benefits of using a VPN to browse the interest are:

  1. It keeps your online browsing activity private. This is really handy if you’re using a shared network like free Wi-Fi. When you’re using public Wi-Fi in your favourite coffee shop it’s a great little perk, but these networks are rarely very secure. Think of your VPN as a tool that lets you shield your personal details from any snoops and would-be hackers out there. Even when you’re browsing at home you might want this added level of security, especially when you’re doing a spot of online banking.

  2. It hides your location from others. A VPN shields your IP address and hides your location. This prevents companies using trackers to identify you and bombarding you with adverts.

  3. You can access content available in other countries. Fancy seeing the different types of content that your favourite TV and movie streaming service offers overseas? Well, with a VPN you might just be able to do this. Because your location is hidden, you can get around geographic restrictions to stream content from around the world.

  4. You can work remotely. This is what VPNs were originally created for. If you’re working from home or another remote location, you can use a VPN to securely access your business network. You’ll then be able to keep doing all the things you’d normally do on your office computer.

How do I get a VPN?

So, how do you get a VPN? Easy. Just go to your app store or the VPN’s website, sign up, and download it onto your device.

There are loads of VPNs to choose from, so do some research and go for one that’s trustworthy and secure. If you’re downloading a VPN from your device’s app store, check out all the ratings and reviews before you decide to install it.

Most VPNs charge a monthly fee, so look out for ones that offers you a free trial. Then you can try before you buy.

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