How to find the best VPN for your needs?
To find the best VPN service for your personal or business needs, you’ll need to compare brands, prices, features, and more. But first, you need to understand how a VPN accomplishes its primary mission: Keeping you safe and protecting your privacy online.
Fundamentally, most VPNs (virtual private networks) provide two services: They encrypt your data between two points and they hide the IP address (from which a general location can be derived) where you’re located. For those traveling or out and about, the first function is critical because most Wi-Fi available publicly is unencrypted — so anyone on the network can see what you were sending.
But VPNs also serve to hide your IP address, replacing the address logged on servers with one in a completely different location — even a different country. For those worrying about stalking or other threats, this feature could save lives. Most consumers, though, find streaming VPN features compelling because — in some cases, and with dubious legality — it allows them to spoof their region of origin to get access to streaming media and sports blacked out from their home locale.
There is no doubt that you should use a VPN service provider when you’re using public Wi-Fi when away from home. But what about when you’re at home? Should you use a VPN then?
My general advice is that using a VPN is not critical for most people at home, since your ISP rarely wants to look at your traffic. But if you live in an apartment with a bunch of curious roommates all sharing one router, a VPN might prove valuable. If you’re connecting to work and want to make sure you’re taking all the precautions you can (and if your employer hasn’t given you a corporate VPN to use) a VPN service would be useful. If you’re connecting to websites that log connection information and you don’t want to leave tracks where you are (especially where your home is), you might want to use a VPN. You get the idea: If you want extra protection and safety at home, then a VPN isn’t a bad idea.
In this article, we look at a bunch of our top VPN solutions. We’ll cover many of the best VPN service providers, how to access the native VPNs built into your desktop machine, and even how to use your NAS as a VPN client and host. If you’re curious about VPNs, you can learn a lot more in our massive VPN FAQ.
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